Senate confirms Xochitl Torres Small as USDA Deputy Secretary

Senate confirms Xochitl Torres Small as USDA Deputy Secretary
Jul 12, 2023

Senators voted 84-8 in support of Torres Small

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Xochitl Torres Small is now officially the deputy secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture.

The Senate voted 84-8 in support of her confirmation on July 11, making her the second in command of the USDA behind Secretary Tom Vilsack. A swearing-in ceremony is expected to take place next week.

Her confirmation as USDA Deputy Secretary means she will leave her post as rural development undersecretary.

As of July 14, Rural Development Chief Operating Officer Roger Glendenning will serve as active undersecretary.

President Biden nominated the former New Mexico Congresswoman for the deputy secretary position in February following Jewel Bronaugh’s resignation. Torres Small had her confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Ag Committee in May.

During her May 10 hearing, Torres Small indicated she wants to focus on the people within the USDA because they connect the department with the people who rely on it.

“The people of this department, it’s the glue,” she said. “It’s the glue that connects our programs together and much more importantly, connects our programs to the people who deserve our support. So, if confirmed, the management side of the position would be front of mind for me.”

The USDA employs about 100,000 people across 29 agencies.

Multiple industry organizations welcomed Torres Small’s confirmation.

Stephen Censky, CEO of the American Soybean Association, served as USDA Deputy Secretary from 2017 to 2020.

Torres Small brings a wealth of experience to the position which will benefit ag, he said.

“Torres Small’s comprehensive background in D.C. will bring great value and insight to the position—from her time as a district court clerk, attorney working in water and natural resources law, on through her service in the U.S. House of Representatives, where she was a member of the House Agriculture Committee, and most recently with USDA Rural Development,” he said in a statement.

The Corn Refiners Association is also excited to work with the new deputy secretary.

“Her proven track record, dedication to food and farm policy, focus on rural prosperity, and dedication to advancing diversity will continue to propel the agriculture industry forward,” John Bode, president and CEO of the organization, said in a statement.