Trump’s USDA Chief Scientist Pick Should Commit to Evidence-Based Policy for Public Interest Over Corporate Favors

Statement by Ricardo Salvador, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Jul 17, 2018 Updated Aug 22, 2019

WASHINGTON (July 17, 2018)—President Trump yesterday picked Scott Hutchins, an entomologist and executive at Corteva Agriscience—the newly-created agriculture division of chemical giant DowDuPont— to serve as undersecretary for research, education and economics for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The move comes eight months after former Trump campaign adviser Sam Clovis withdrew his nomination for the role, which also serves as chief scientist and oversees a $3 billion budget for key science research agencies. Hutchins’ nomination is the latest in the Trump administration’s efforts to maximize corporate influence over the priorities and direction of U.S. agriculture, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).  

Below is a statement by Ricardo Salvador, director and senior scientist of the Food and Environment Program at UCS.  

“Everywhere you look in the Trump administration, there's Dow. From the million-dollar check to the Trump inauguration fund, to the lobbying that persuaded the Environmental Protection Agency to reverse a ban on a pesticide that harms children's brain development and gave us farm bill proposals that would leave endangered species vulnerable to pesticides.

“Given Dr. Hutchins’ role as researcher and director of product development for a prominent industry player, we urge the Senate ensure he commits to rising above his industry ties and use his expertise to make decisions in the public interest. He should draw on his deep academic expertise, long career at Dow and past leadership at the Entomological Society of America to ensure scientific integrity and develop and disseminate research to benefit all farmers and eaters.”