Ag Industry Hopes USDA Leadership Will Come From California

Trump is Considering Abel Maldonado, Reports Say

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

The California agricultural industry is hoping that President-elect Donald Trump will pick a Department of Agriculture secretary from California. If not, perhaps he’ll consider a deputy secretary from the number one agricultural state.

Joel Nelsen
Joel Nelsen

And of course Trump’s selection could be decided any day now, so California Ag Today is monitoring closely, awaiting news of the announcement.

McClatchy Newspapers reported that Trump is considering nominating former California Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado. The two were scheduled to meet Wednesday. Maldonado is the son of Mexican-American farmworkers.

Joel Nelsen president of the California Citrus Mutual in Exeter, CA, hopes that the Trump administration will think hard about selecting USDA Leadership from California.

“We obviously believe that there could be some positive activity here. We’re a little disappointed that not much noise has been made relative to the USDA secretary or the deputy secretary.  We champion the cause of individuals in the western side of the United States’ fresh fruit and vegetable industry to be part of that leadership team at USDA,” Nelsen said.

“Historically the secretary has come from a southern cotton or mid-western grain state,” Nelsen said.  “We’re suggesting that there should be a good fresh fruit and vegetable individual at the lead, or at a minimum there should be a fresh fruit and vegetable person at the number two spot.”

There is so much going on in the fresh fruits and vegetable industry, particularly with California growers.

“When you think about what’s going on in the trade arena, when you think about the invasive pests and diseases, when you think about nutrition and food security, it’s fresh fruits and vegetables that are sitting at the forefront of all that,” Nelsen said.

Somebody on the leadership team has to come from our perspective … from our fresh fruit and vegetable industry,” he said.