A man from eastern Iowa’s Scott County is reportedly being considered for the nation’s top agricultural job. Allen Johnson, a Long Grove native, is said to be on the short list to replace U.S. Ag Secretary Ann Veneman, who resigned Monday. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he’s already recommended Johnson to White House officials. Grassley says Johnson has spent four years as the administration’s chief agricultural trade negotiator, with the title of ambassador. Grassley says Johnson is “up and running” and would be a “strong voice for American agriculture at the international table.” While Grassley complements the outgoing Veneman, he says he hopes the Bush administration choses someone to replace her with some different qualities. Grassley says President Bush’s legacy in agriculture should be in international trade and the next ag secretary should be more involved and engaged in international trade then Veneman has been. Grassley knows Johnson well as Johnson was an aide in Grassley’s office for several years in the early 1980s. Grassley says Johnson has a lot of other attributes beyond trade.Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, a democrat, issued the following statement Monday: “Secretary Veneman served with dedication and conscientiousness in what is often rightly called a thankless job, and I wish her the best in the future. I commend Secretary Veneman and her staff for working with us in Congress as we wrote a strong new farm bill in 2002. We agreed on a lot of issues, and naturally disagreed on others. Most of those disagreements were over unnecessary obstacles to carrying out the farm bill thrown up by the White House and its Office of Management and Budget.” Harkin’s statement did not mention Johnson.
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