American Agriculture is letting the U.S. Senate know that 68 months is long enough to go without a USDA under secretary for food safety.

Ten of the nation’s largest and most influential agricultural organizations have written the Senate’s leadership, calling for an immediate vote to confirm Mindy Brashears as USDA’s under secretary for agriculture.

The organizations say Brashears is “eminently qualified to fulfill the critical role of overseeing the safety of the nation’s meat, poultry, and egg products.”

Brashears was a professor of food safety and public health before her May 4, 2018, nomination. The Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee has, too, recommended her confirmation by the full Senate.

Calling for an immediate confirmation vote are: the American Farm Bureau Federation; American Sheep Industry Association; American Veterinary Medical Association; Catfish Farmers of America; National Association of State Departments of Agriculture; National Cattlemen’s Beef Association; National Chicken Council; National Pork Producers Council, National Turkey Federation; North American Meat Association and the United Egg Producers.

The Senate’s confirmation vote delay has nothing to do with Brashears. More than 100 executive appointments are pending in Senate, waiting for floor time.

Brashears has been waiting for 15 months. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue named her deputy undersecretary for food safety so that she could at least begin work while she waits on the Senate.

The top food safety job in the American government has gone vacant since Dr. Elisabeth Hagen resigned the office in December 2013. The Obama administration left it vacant for the final 37 months of its term.

The job has been vacant for the first 31 months of the Trump administration, although the Senate’s inaction is blamed for about half that time.

The ag groups wrote to the leaders of the Senate Majority and Minority caucuses.

The Agricultural Reorganization Act of 1994 requires the President to appoint the Under Secretary for Food Safety who begins service upon Senate confirmation.

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