Despite Controversy, Most Major Ag Groups Support Sam Clovis’ USDA Nomination

Despite Controversy, Most Major Ag Groups Support Sam Clovis’ USDA Nomination

Photo by Alex Hanson.

Most of the major agricultural associations are coming out in support of President Donald Trump’s nomination of Sam Clovis to serve as Under Secretary of Agriculture for Research, Education, and Economics with USDA .

Clovis, an economist with a PhD in public administration and a close political ally of President Trump’s, drew protests from many in the scientific community, saying the position has been given to those with advanced degrees in hard sciences since 2001. Clovis’ statements questioning climate change is another lightening rod for those opposed to his nomination.

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But in a group letter to Congress, 22 agricultural groups, including Western Growers Association and American Farm Bureau Federation, point out that the USDA’s chief scientist does not need a scientific background to champion their work. “The USDA already employs some of the finest and most dedicated scientists in the world. They do not need a peer,” they say in the letter.

Here’s more of the letter:

“As you know, we are strong proponents of our premier agriculture research and education system in this country.

It is the backbone for the productivity on our farms and ranches across the country. We believe Dr. Clovis shares this passion and will work with you and interested stakeholders to maintain and improve this great American heritage.

Some have suggested that Dr. Clovis is not qualified for this position due to his lack of hands-on science and research experience. We do not share this point of view. The U.S. Department of Agriculture already employs some of the finest and most dedicated scientists in the world. They do not need a peer. They need someone to champion their work before the administration, the Congress, and all consumers around the world.

Dr. Clovis is dedicated to preserving and improving this remarkable system. Most importantly, he is dedicated to making sure that the world’s best-available science is being used by all government agencies to determine appropriate regulatory and policy decisions.”

The groups that signed the letter are: American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, National Barley Growers Association, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Cotton Council, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Grange, National Milk Producers Federation, National Pork Producers Council, National Potato Council, National Sorghum Producers, National Sunflower Association, Southern Peanut Farmers Federation, Southwest Council of Agri-Business, United Egg Producers, USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council, U.S. Apple Association, USA Rice Federation, U.S. Canola Association, U.S. Dry Bean Association, and the Western Growers Association.