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The Department of Agriculture’s rural development lead says USDA is seeking to create an environment where rural America can prosper.

 

Ann Hazlett oversees the Rural Utilities Service, the Rural Business Service, and the Rural Housing Service. She was appointed to the newly created position of Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development last month.

 

The appointment is part of a restructuring plan that eliminates the undersecretary position for rural development, a plan that’s met some opposition. USDA says the move allows for an increased emphasis on Rural Development that’s needed in the face of economic difficulties in rural communities.

 

An Indiana native, Hazlett has worked on agriculture and rural issues for more than fifteen years. She says there are many challenges in rural America that USDA will examine…

 

 

Another priority for rural development is delivering broadband internet to rural areas, which USDA considers a necessity…

 

 

Hazlett is a graduate of Kansas State University and before her role at USDA served as Chief Counsel to the majority on the Senate Agriculture Committee. By removing the undersecretary position and putting rural programs under an appointed position, Hazlett was able to start work immediately at USDA.

 

Other divisions of USDA that are overseen by an undersecretary are awaiting new leadership. Currrent American Soybean Association CEO Stephen Censky was nominated by President Trump to serve as the USDA deputy secretary. President Trump has also nominated Ted McKinney for Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs and Sam Clovis for Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics.

 
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