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Northey nomination still stuck


The nomination of Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey to a new undersecretary position at the U.S. Department of Agriculture is still stuck in a political battle between ethanol and oil interests, according to Sen. Chuck Grassley, Successful Farming reportedTexas Sen. Ted Cruz at one point had pushed for a meeting among the interests — which happened, according to Northey — to figure out ways both industries could thrive. But Grassley said Cruz’s idea to put a cap on the price of credits used to comply with federal law on blending ethanol “makes negotiations a dead end.” The price Cruz wants for the credits is far below the trading price and the wholesale price of ethanol, Successful Farming reported. Iowa’s other senator, Joni Ernst, said Cruz won’t admit the idea is unacceptable. Cruz put a hold on Northey’s nomination in the fall. Northey is a strong supporter of corn-based ethanol. Iowa is the nation’s top corn producer. If confirmed, Northey would lead the USDA’s farm subsidy, crop insurance and land stewardship programs.

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