“Our work has only just begun in delivering results for the people of American agriculture, and the experience and leadership skills of Stephen Censky will only enhance our efforts,” said Sonny Perdue, USDA secretary. “He will bring enthusiasm and a dedication to this country that will be great assets to USDA’s customers. I am extremely pleased with the nomination for this key position and am hopeful that the senate will take it up in short order.”
The transition would mark a return to both Washington, D.C., and USDA for Censky.
Censky began his career working as a legislative assistant for Senator Jim Abdnor. Later he served in both the Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations at the USDA, eventually serving as administrator of the Foreign Agricultural Service where he was involved in running U.S. export programs.
Censky received his bachelor of science in agriculture from South Dakota State University and his postgraduate diploma in agriculture science from the University of Melbourne, Australia. He grew up on a soybean, corn, and diversified livestock farm near Jackson, Minnesota.
The nomination found positive reactions and supportive congratulations among U.S. grain associations.
“I’ve worked with Steve for years and over the last year as a fellow commodity organization CEO,” said Chandler Goule, CEO of the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG). “I have seen firsthand his dedication to American agriculture. He is an aggressive advocate for farmers and truly understands how important international trade is to the ag economy, and how critical a strong crop insurance program is for farmers to farm another year when they experience a weather or economic storm.”
Wesley Spurlock, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), welcomed the nomination as step forward to filling the leadership in the USDA as well as an experienced second in command.
“Steve knows firsthand the importance of increasing global demand for U.S. agricultural products, growing the renewable fuels industry, and protecting risk management programs,” Spurlock said. “His background and experience are especially welcome as we begin to shape the next farm bill.”
Richard Wilkins, president of the ASA, believes the leadership and advocacy he saw from Censky will benefit the USDA and U.S. as a whole.
“ASA is better and stronger because of the work of Steve Censky,” Wilkins said. “He has helped us grow through our advocacy for farmers in Washington, and our service to them in their communities. We will be sad to lose his leadership, but glad to know that it will benefit millions of Americans who rely on the work of the department every day.”
The Senate Agriculture Committee has not announced when it will hold a hearing on Censky’s nomination.