Jim Hubbard brings previous experience with Forest Service and Interior Department to undersecretary position at USDA.

Jacqui Fatka, Policy editor

April 16, 2018

2 Min Read
Hubbard named to lead USDA Forest Service
USDA Forest Service Deputy Chief Jim Hubbard speaks at the High Park Fire Symposium, September 10, 2012, hosted by the Colorado State University Warner College of Natural Resources.Colorado State University

The U.S. Department of Agriculture could soon have another important undersecretary on staff with the announcement over the weekend that President Donald Trump had selected James Hubbard to serve as undersecretary for natural resources and environment.

Under the proposed USDA reorganization plan, the Natural Resources & Environment area comprises only the Forest Service; the Natural Resources Conservation Service is under the Farm Production & Conservation mission area overseen by undersecretary Bill Northey.

Hubbard worked for the Colorado Forest Service for 35 years, serving as the state’s chief forester for the last 20. During his two decades as state forester, he served on multiple National Association of State Foresters (NASF) committees, most notably as chair of the legislative committee. 

Hubbard has worked as director of the Office of Wildland Fire Coordination for the U.S. Department of the Interior and deputy chief for state and private forestry at the USDA Forest Service. In 2011, he received the NASF Lifetime Achievement Award. Hubbard received his bachelor's in forest management with honors from the College of Natural Resources at Colorado State University.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue applauded the appointment, saying, "I am very excited by the selection of Jim Hubbard for this leadership role at USDA. Congress passed, and President Trump signed into law, meaningful reforms and forest management tools that will help us better maintain our national forests. Under Jim Hubbard's leadership, we will put these tools to use, restore our forests to health and get them back to work for the taxpayers. Jim's service with the Forest Service and the Department of Interior makes him exceptionally qualified for this post, and I am eager to have Jim join the team.”

In a 2017 interview, Hubbard detailed the importance of managed fires and cooperation from residents and all the way from the local to the state and federal levels.

Perdue, meanwhile, remains shorthanded at USDA. Of the seven mission areas, no one has been named as an undersecretary for the Food Safety, the Food Nutrition & Consumer Services or the Research, Education & Economics areas. "At the same time, there are several other qualified USDA nominees still awaiting Senate confirmation. I urge the Senate to take up these nominations as quickly as possible,” he said.

Although Hubbard was just nominated, other nominees who have yet to be confirmed by the full Senate include Naomi Earp as assistant secretary for civil rights at USDA, Ken Barbic as assistant secretary for congressional relations and Stephen Vaden as USDA general counsel.

About the Author(s)

Jacqui Fatka

Policy editor, Farm Futures

Jacqui Fatka grew up on a diversified livestock and grain farm in southwest Iowa and graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications, with a minor in agriculture education, in 2003. She’s been writing for agricultural audiences ever since. In college, she interned with Wallaces Farmer and cultivated her love of ag policy during an internship with the Iowa Pork Producers Association, working in Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Capitol Hill press office. In 2003, she started full time for Farm Progress companies’ state and regional publications as the e-content editor, and became Farm Futures’ policy editor in 2004. A few years later, she began covering grain and biofuels markets for the weekly newspaper Feedstuffs. As the current policy editor for Farm Progress, she covers the ongoing developments in ag policy, trade, regulations and court rulings. Fatka also serves as the interim executive secretary-treasurer for the North American Agricultural Journalists. She lives on a small acreage in central Ohio with her husband and three children.

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