On May 3, U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) sent a letter to the president thanking him for signing the 2018 farm bill and urging him to act quickly on nominating a candidate for Under Secretary for Rural Development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The Under Secretary is a Senate-confirmed position that implements USDA’s Rural Development programs and plays a lead role in helping counties make key investments in rural communities.
Previously, the Under Secretary position had been eliminated by the administration during a 2017 reorganization of the agency. NACo strongly opposed this decision, as counties rely on a qualified and accountable leader to effectively implement USDA’s Rural Development programs. After months of working with congressional leaders during negotiations over the 2018 farm bill, counties secured language in the final legislation requiring the USDA Secretary to reinstate the Under Secretary for Rural Development.
Counties appreciate efforts by Chairman Roberts and Ranking Member Stabenow to expedite the nomination process and look forward to working with the new USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development.