The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens

Michael Scuse named acting undersecretary after Miller's resignation


Michael Scuse will take the position of acting undersecretary for farm and foreign agricultural services when Jim Miller leaves the undersecretary post to return to Capitol Hill as an aide to Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D.

Scuse has been serving as deputy undersecretary for almost two years.

Conrad announced today that Miller, who worked for him on the 2008 farm bill, would be returning to his staff. Miller announced his resignation from the USDA yesterday. An aide said Miller is expected to stay at USDA for another two weeks.

The office of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack informed USDA employees today that Scuse would becoming acting undersecretary. In that role, Scuse will oversee the Farm Service Agency, which distribute farm subsidies, the Foreign Agricultural Service, which analyzes production in other countries and promotes U.S. agricultural sales overseas, and the Risk Management Agency, which oversees crop insurance.

Scuse was Delaware agriculture secretary from May 2001 until September 2008, when Gov. Ruth Ann Minner, a Democrat, named him as her chief of staff. From 1996 to 2001, Scuse served as both chairman of the Kent County, Del., Regional Planning Commission and chairman of USDA’s Farmer Service Agency state committee. Before that, he was Kent County recorder of deeds.

While he was agriculture secretary of Delaware, Scuse served as a vice president of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and as president of the Northeast Association of State Departments of Agriculture.

Scuse was appointed to the USDA post in April 2009, at which time Vilsack said in a news release that he brought two important strengths to the role: “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, 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.”

No announcement has been made about a possible permanent successor to Miller. The position requires Senate confirmation.