Senate confirms Ibach as Ag Undersecretary

Source: Marc Heller, E&E News reporter • Posted: Friday, October 27, 2017

The Senate yesterday confirmed Greg Ibach as undersecretary of Agriculture for marketing and regulatory programs, handing the former Nebraska agriculture director authority over the new disclosure system for genetically modified foods.

Senators confirmed Ibach on a voice vote.

“Greg’s experiences as a rancher and dedicated public servant to the State of Nebraska for nearly 20 years will serve USDA and rural America well,” Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) said in a news release.

Ibach will oversee regulations for disclosures on food derived from genetically modified organisms, as well as food safety efforts through the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

APHIS faces issues such as outbreaks of bird flu, which have decimated poultry farms, and the citrus greening disease that continues to damage groves, especially in Florida.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement that Ibach’s “expertise in a wide cross-section of agricultural issues will be invaluable to our customers: the farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers of America.”

The nomination had broad support from lawmakers and farm groups. Ibach served as Nebraska’s director of agriculture for 12 years, and he and his family run a cow-calf operation.

Ibach’s swift approval contrasted to the roadblock that hit another nominee this week, Iowa Agriculture Director Bill Northey. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) placed a hold on Northey’s nomination in a spat with corn-state lawmakers over biofuel mandates.