On the Street -- New USDA Under Secretary

April 21/Targeted News Service -- TAgriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on April 14 announced the appointment of Michael T. Scuse as USDA's Deputy Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services (FFAS). Scuse's primary responsibility will be for the domestic programs within the FFAS mission area.

FFAS includes the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Risk Management Agency (RMA). FAS works to expand existing markets and build new markets for U.S. products, improve the competitive position of U.S. agriculture and provide food aid and technical assistance to foreign countries. FSA and RMA help to keep America's farmers and ranchers in business as they face the uncertainties of weather and markets. These two agencies deliver commodity, credit, conservation, disaster, and emergency assistance, as well as crop insurance, programs that help improve the stability and strength of the domestic agricultural economy.

"Michael Scuse brings two very important strengths to his role as deputy under secretary for FFAS," said Vilsack. "He has extensive knowledge of agriculture and a solid management background. Having served as Delaware's agriculture secretary and vice president of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA), Michael knows U.S. agriculture from both state and national perspectives. He also understands farming first-hand. For 35 years, he and his brother have run a successful grain operation in their home state. Michael will be a great support to Under Secretary Jim Miller in rounding out the FFAS team."

Scuse was Secretary of Agriculture for Delaware from May 2001 until September 2008, when Governor Ruth Ann Minner (D) named him as her chief of staff. From 1996-2001, Scuse served as both chairman of the Kent County (Delaware) Regional Planning Commission and chairman of USDA's FSA State Committee. Before that, he was Kent County Recorder of Deeds.

In addition to serving as NASDA vice president while agriculture secretary, Scuse was also president of the Northeast Association of State Departments of Agriculture. While in office, he successfully eradicated avian influenza from broiler flocks with the assistance of the University of Delaware and the state's poultry industry.

From the April 27, 2009, Prepared Foods E-dition