June 23, 2019

Three USDA nominees clear Senate Ag Committee

Three USDA nominees clear Senate Ag Committee

After months of delay, three USDA nominees have cleared the Senate Agriculture Committee and have now been submitted for confirmation by the full Senate. The nominees are Mindy Brashears, nominated by President Trump to serve as Under Secretary of Agriculture for Food Safety; Naomi Earp, nominated for Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Civil Rights; and Scott Hutchins, nominated for Under Secretary of Agriculture for Research, Education, and Economics.

“These three nominees have proven their abilities and are more than ready to serve in the capacities they were nominated,” Senate Agriculture Committee chairman Pat Roberts (R., Kan.) said in a statement. “I urge my colleagues in the Senate to confirm these qualified nominees as quickly as possible.”

Brashears is a former Texas Tech University food safety and public health professor. She also served as director of the International Center for Food Industry Excellence at Texas Tech University. She was first nominated to the position in May 2018 and would fill a gap open since 2013, when the last Under Secretary of Agriculture for Food Safety stepped down. Brashears has been serving as Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety since January.

Earp is a career federal service employee. She entered the Senior Executive Service at the USDA in the late 1980s. She previously served as Chair and Vice Chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under President George W. Bush. Earp has been in the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Civil Rights position since January.

Hutchins is a board-certified entomologist and previously served as President of the Entomological Society of America. He worked for CortevaTM AgriScience for nearly 32 years. He was sworn in as Deputy Under Secretary, Research, Education, and Economics in January.

While Brashears was confirmed unanimously by the committee, Feedstuffs reports that Hutchins received one vote against him, and Earp had six opposing votes.