President Donald Trump may nominate a non-scientist to fill the Department of Agriculture’s top science job.
Sam Clovis is a former economics professor and talk radio host in Iowa, and an adviser to the Trump campaign last year. He helped run USDA before Secretary Sonny Perdue took office.
Clovis is not a scientist. Yet the White House is considering nominating Clovis for USDA undersecretary of research, education and economics—a top-level science post that oversees USDA’s scientific mission, and the ’08 Farm Bill says should be filled by a “distinguished scientist.”
USDA Political Appointment Nominees Coming Soon
The White House is close to announcing nominees for political appointments within the Department of Agriculture. Rumored for the number two spot at USDA, Steve Censky, CEO of the American Soybean Association, is expected to be nominated for the USDA deputy secretary position. Current Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey is expected to receive the nominee for a newly created post as undersecretary for farm production and conservation. Indiana Agriculture Department Director Ted McKinney is expected to be nominated as undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs.
Grocery Prices See Early Year Spike
Unlike last year, grocery prices have risen every month thus far this year, but the increases have been tiny. USDA’s AnnMarie Kuhns:
5-17 USDA 2a :05 …”percent.”
Much of that increase in due to one item: Lettuce.
With wholesale lettuce prices double what they were a year ago, due to heavy rains and flooding in California.
But, for the whole year, grocery price increases should be nominal, says Kuhns.
NCBA Seeks to Demystify Beef
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has rolled out two fact sheets on beef production and processing, available to consumers seeking more information about their steaks and other cuts, and how they got to the plate. Beef labels can be helpful, but they can also cause confusion in the meat case. Terms like grain-finished, grass-finished, certified organic and naturally raised may be confusing to some; this fact sheet breaks down the four common labels and what they actually mean, based on USDA definitions.
The two new fact sheets; Decoding the Label: Know Your Beef Choices, walk consumers through how cattle farmers and ranchers use antibiotics in accordance with Food and Drug Administration guidelines, and the choices consumers have when buying beef in their local supermarket.