Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services

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United States
Under Secretary of Agriculture
for Farm and Foreign
Agricultural Services
US-DeptOfAgriculture-Seal2.svg
Incumbent
Michael T. Scuse

since May 14, 2012
Formation 1969
First holder Clarence Palmby
Website Official website

The Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services is the third-ranking official in the United States Department of Agriculture. The incumbent heads a mission area of USDA that "helps to keep America's farmers and ranchers in business as they face the uncertainties of weather and markets..." and that "...deliver[s] commodity, credit, conservation, disaster, and emergency assistance programs that help improve the stability and strength of the agricultural economy." [1] The Under Secretary is traditionally appointed to serve as the President of the Commodity Credit Corporation.

The Under Secretary is appointed by the President of the United States with the consent of the United States Senate to serve at the pleasure of the President. The current Under Secretary is Michael T. Scuse, who was appointed by President Barack Obama May 14, 2012.[2][3]

Overview[edit]

The Under Secretary is the principal officer of the United States Department of Agriculture charged with administering programs and providing services which focus on supporting a sustainable and competitive American agricultural system. The Under Secretary administers agricultural commodity insurance, farm loans, conservation, environmental, emergency assistance, and domestic and international food assistance programs. These programs are intended to provide cost-effective means of managing risk for agricultural producers in order to improve the economic stability of agriculture. The Under Secretary's mission area also represents the diverse interests of the U.S. food and agricultural sector abroad by managing the Department's international activities, addressing market access constraints, and working to expand markets for U.S. agricultural, fish and forest products overseas.

The Under Secretary provides leadership and oversight for the Farm Service Agency, the Risk Management Agency, and the Foreign Agricultural Service. The President normally appoints the Under Secretary as President of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), though in the past this latter responsibility has sometimes been held by other USDA officials. The Under Secretary for FFAS also normally chairs the interagency Food Assistance Policy Council and is a member of the interagency Trade Policy Review Group (TPRG).

The Under Secretary is the third highest-ranking official within the Agriculture Department, ranking behind the Secretary and Deputy Secretary, and holds a Level III position within the Executive Schedule. Since January 2010, the annual rate of pay for Level III is $165,300.

History[edit]

The Department of Agriculture was made a Cabinet-level department in 1889. For many years, the Secretary of Agriculture supervised chiefs of bureaus of the Department, as was the norm throughout the U.S. government. Subsequently, a single subcabinet position of Assistant Secretary was created. Over time, this position was upgraded to Under Secretary, under which in turn was a single Assistant Secretary.

In 1953, Secretary Ezra Taft Benson lobbied for the creation of additional Assistant Secretary positions, which Congress approved that summer. Two of these positions, the Assistant Secretary for the Foreign Agricultural Service and the Assistant Secretary for Commodity Marketing and Adjustment, were merged in September 1953, and in December of that year the vacant position was redesignated Assistant Secretary for Stabilization. Between 1953 and 1962 the responsibilities of today's Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services were thus shared by two Assistant Secretaries, for "Stabilization" and for "Marketing and Foreign Agriculture". The former oversaw the Commodity Stabilization Service and its successors, including the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, while the latter oversaw the Agricultural Marketing Service and the Foreign Agricultural Service. In 1963, the positions were reshuffled, with foreign agriculture (oversight of the Foreign Agricultural Service and the newly created International Agricultural Development Service) assigned to an Assistant Secretary for International Affairs, and marketing and stabilization combined under an Assistant Secretary for Marketing and Consumer Services. In 1969, responsibility for both foreign affairs and farm support (stabilization) programs was consolidated into a single position entitled Assistant Secretary for International Affairs and Commodity Programs, with marketing remaining under its own, separate Assistant Secretary.

The Agricultural Trade Act of 1978 upgraded the Assistant Secretary for International Affairs and Commodity Programs to Under Secretary. At the time, it was the only Under Secretary-level subcabinet position in USDA, as the official previously called Under Secretary had been retitled as Deputy Secretary, in keeping with common U.S. government practice. Subsequent USDA reorganizations, notably that of 1994, upgraded most USDA subcabinet officials to Under Secretary status, however.

Dorothy Jacobson, a longtime aide to Orville Freeman, was the first woman appointed to one of these positions, in 1964. This made her the first woman to serve in a subcabinet position in USDA.[4]

Another former assistant secretary, James T. Ralph, was a figure in the Billie Sol Estes scandal and was forced to leave Federal service. This scandal led directly to the 1963 shakeup of USDA, a reassignment of responsibilities for oversight of commodity programs, and investigation of allegations of corrupt activities by state-level employees of the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service.

Reporting Officials[edit]

Officials reporting to the Under Secretary include:

Office Holders[edit]

Eisenhower Administration
Romeo Ennis Short, Assistant Secretary for the Foreign Agricultural Service, July 21, 1953-September 28, 1953 John H. Davis, Assistant Secretary for Commodity Marketing and Adjustment, February 1953-July 31, 1954 (took over foreign agriculture in October 1953)
Ross Rizley, Assistant Secretary, December 1953-December 1954 Earl Butz, Assistant Secretary for Marketing and Foreign Agriculture, July 31, 1954-July 31, 1957
James A. McConnell, Assistant Secretary for Stabilization, January 1955-December 1955 Don Paarlberg, Assistant Secretary for Marketing and Foreign Agriculture, July 31, 1957-September 1958
Marvin L. McLain, Assistant Secretary for Agricultural Stabilization, ?1956-1961? Clarence Ludlow Miller, Assistant Secretary for Marketing and Foreign Agriculture, February 1959-January 1961
Kennedy – Johnson Administrations
James Tyree Ralph, Assistant Secretary for Agricultural Stabilization, January 1961-March 1962 (fired for accepting gifts from Billie Sol Estes; Sec. Freeman subsequently shook up the USDA assistant secretary responsibilities) John Duncan, Jr., for Marketing and Foreign Agriculture, January 1961-July 1963 (assumed Stabilization after Ralph was fired, effective July 18, 1962)
Roland R. Renne, Assistant Secretary for International Affairs, March 1963 to March 1964 George L. Mehren, Assistant Secretary for Marketing and Consumer Services, August 1963-1968 (this included responsibility for agricultural stabilization)
Dorothy Houston Jacobson, Assistant Secretary for International Affairs, March 20, 1964-1969?
Nixon-Ford Administrations (foreign agriculture and agricultural stabilization merged under one assistant secretary)
Clarence D. Palmby, Assistant Secretary for International Affairs and Commodity Programs, January 1969-June 1972
Carroll G. Brunthaver, Assistant Secretary for International Affairs and Commodity Programs, June 1972-January 1974
Clayton Keith Yeutter, Assistant Secretary for International Affairs and Commodity Programs, March 1974-1975
Richard E. Bell, Assistant Secretary for International Affairs and Commodity Programs, July 1975-1977
Carter Administration
Dale E. Hathaway, Assistant Secretary for International Affairs and Commodity Programs, April 1977-1981
position elevated to Under Secretary status in 1978 by Act of Congress
Reagan Administration
Seeley G. Lodwick, Under Secretary for International Affairs and Commodity Programs, 1981-January 1983
Daniel Gordon Amstutz, Under Secretary for International Affairs and Commodity Programs, May 1983-August 1987
George H.W. Bush Administration
Richard T. Crowder, Under Secretary for International Affairs and Commodity Programs, April 1989-July 1992
Clinton Administration
Eugene Moos, Under Secretary for International Affairs and Commodity Programs, March 1993-1997
International Affairs and Commodity Programs renamed Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services in 1994 reorganization, authorized by Act of Congress
August Schumacher, Jr., Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, 1997-2001
George W. Bush Administration
J.B. Penn, Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, May 2001-August 21, 2006
Mark Everett Keenum, Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, 2007-January 2009
Obama Administration
James W. Miller, Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, April 8, 2009-January 2011
Michael T. Scuse, Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, May 14, 2012-present

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "USDA Mission Areas". Retrieved July 15, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Biography of Michael T. Scuse". Retrieved April 7, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Michael Scuse Sworn In as FFAS Under Secretary". Retrieved October 25, 2012. 
  4. ^ 'FAS Letter' Apr-May 1964

External links[edit]

Biographic Information[edit]

Legislation[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

Newspapers[edit]

  • Washington Post, January 20, 1953, "Coke Heads New Appointees Named to Agriculture Department"
  • Washington Post, January 23, 1953, "Benson Cuts Agriculture to 4 Groups"
  • New York Times, March 26, 1953, "President Submits Agriculture Plan"
  • New York Times, July 12, 1953, "2 Named Farm Department Aides"
  • Washington Post, July 12, 1953, "Two Named To New Posts at Agriculture"
  • New York Times, July 17, 1953, "Senate Confirms Four"
  • Washington Post, September 29, 1953, "Benson Giving States Bigger Farm Role"
  • Los Angeles Times, September 29, 1953, "Assistant Secretary of Agriculture Resigns"
  • New York Times, October 14, 1953, "Benson Outlines Bureau's Revision"
  • Washington Post, October 14, 1953, "Benson Acts To Reshuffle Department"
  • New York Times, December 17, 1953, "Rizley Named Agriculture Aide"
  • New York Times, December 18, 1953, "An Assistant Secretary of Agriculture Is Sworn"
  • Wall Street Journal, January 20, 1954, "Agriculture Department Aide Will Quit For Harvard Post"
  • New York Times, February 12, 1954, "High Benson Aide Quits Farm 'Team'; 9th of 12 To Leave"
  • Chicago Daily Tribune, July 29, 1954, "Becker Receives Senate Approval For Customs Post"
  • New York Times, July 30, 1954, "U.S. Agriculture Aide Sworn"
  • New York Times, December 3, 1954, "Agriculture Aide Resigns"
  • New York Times, January 13, 1955, "New Yorker Is Chosen for Agriculture Post"
  • New York Times, December 25, 1955, "Resign From Government Posts"
  • New York Times, June 9, 1957, "Agriculture Aide Resigns"
  • Chicago Daily Tribune, July 2, 1957, "Ex-Prof Named to Agriculture Post"
  • New York Times, November 28, 1958, "Farm Post Slated For Tobacco Man"
  • Christian Science Monitor, February 7, 1959, "Kentucky Man Confirmed for U.S. Agriculture Post"
  • Washington Post, October 27, 1960, "Resignation of McLain, Benson Aide, Accepted"
  • Los Angeles Times, January 22, 1961, "U.S. Farming Post Given To Californian"
  • Washington Post, May 16, 1962, "Ralph Fired in Probe of Estes Dealings"
  • New York Times, June 9, 1962, "Ousted Career Man: James Tyree Ralph"
  • Washington Post, July 18, 1962, "Baker Made Assistant at Agriculture as Welch, Second This Year, Goes Out"
  • Washington Post, November 16, 1962, "Freeman Reorganizes Stabilization Controls"
  • Washington Post, January 25, 1963, "Agriculture Aide Named By President"
  • Washington Post, March 2, 1963, "Brownstein and Renne Confirmed"
  • New York Times, July 2, 1963, "Agriculture Aide to Quit"
  • Los Angeles Times, August 16, 1963, "UC Professor Nominated for Farm Post"
  • New York Times, August 27, 1963, "Senate Confirms Mehren As Agriculture Assistant"
  • New York Times, March 21, 1964, "2 Women Appointed to Leading U.S. Jobs"
  • Christian Science Monitor, April 4, 1964, "Women in Government"
  • Los Angeles Times, August 5, 1968, "Mrs. Dorothy Jacobson Plays Aide's Role in Agriculture"
  • Washington Post, January 7, 1969, "Ex-Democrat Named Aide to Hardin"
  • New York Times, June 1, 1972, “Agriculture Aide to Resign”
  • Washington Post, June 1, 1972, “Grain Expert Palmby Leaving Government”
  • Chicago Tribune, December 13, 1972, “4 Butz Assistants Quit in Shakeup of Department”
  • New York Times, January 18, 1974, “Agriculture Assistant Plans To Resign at End of Month”
  • Washington Post, January 18, 1974, “Brunthaver to Quit Post With 'Clear Conscience'”
  • New York Times, May 30, 1975, “People and Business”
  • Washington Post, July 23, 1975, “USDA Export Post Assumed by Bell”
  • New York Times, January 25, 1977, “Consumer Advocate Seen in Line To Head New Agriculture Division”
  • Washington Post, July 5, 1978, “Trying to Lead the USDA Through the Thicket of Politics”
  • New York Times, March 29, 1981, “Reagan Appointees to Push Use of Natural Resources”
  • Washington Post, January 6, 1983, “Inside: Agriculture”
  • Wall Street Journal, May 2, 1983, “Amstutz Is Nominated For Agriculture Post”
  • Washington Post, May 4, 1983, “The Federal Triangle”
  • New York Times, May 29, 1987, “Key Agriculture Official Leaving Reagan Ranks”
  • Washington Post, May 29, 1987, “Top Aide At USDA Resigning”
  • Washington Post, April 11, 1989, “Today in Congress”
  • New York Times, July 2, 1992, “Farm-Trade Aide Resigns”
  • Washington Post, July 3, 1992, “Talking Points: No. 3 Official at Agriculture is Resigning as of July 20”
  • Washington Post, March 9, 1993, “When Is a Senior Official Just an Official? When There Are Holes in the Defense Team”
  • AgWeek, January 25, 2011, "Miller Leaving USDA Post"

USDA Documents[edit]

  • Secretary's Memorandum 1320 of January 21, 1953, with Supplements 1 through 5
  • Secretary's Memorandum 1446 of February 24, 1961, with Supplements 1 through 4