Enlarge / Sam Clovis, then newly appointed national co-chairman of the Trump campaign, speaks during a news conference with Donald Trump. (credit: Bloomberg / Getty Images)
Yesterday, the Trump administration formally named its candidate for the Department of Agriculture’s undersecretary of research, education, and economics, a post that serves as the agency’s chief scientist.
Its choice? Sam Clovis, who has no scientific background but is notable primarily for having been a conservative talk-radio host.
If approved by the Senate, the US’ attempts to understand climate change’s impact on agriculture will be led by someone who called climate research “junk science.”
Clovis, who has also taught economics and management at an Iowa liberal arts college, was an early supporter of Trump’s candidacy. He’s been working at the USDA as a White House advisor since shortly after Trump’s inauguration.
Suggestions that he’d be nominated to this position have been circulating for a while, but his official nomination only came yesterday.
While the USDA doesn’t have as prominent a role in science as, say, the Department of Energy, its Agricultural Research Service (ARS!) has over 1,000 permanent scientists and over 100 research facilities.
It and other components of the research, education, and economics group are responsible for research in areas like nutrition, agricultural productivity, pathogens that affect agricultural animals, and non-food agriculture, such as forestry.
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