Trump's picks for agency posts just get worse and worse. The USDA chief scientist post (an undersecretary position) has specific expectations per legislation from Congress. The excerpts quoted below are from a ProPublica article yesterday (5/12/17). https://www.propublica.org/article/trumps-expected-pick-for-top-usda-scientist-is-not-a-scientist The USDA’s research section studies everything from climate change to nutrition. Under the 2008 Farm Bill, its leader is supposed to serve as the agency’s “chief scientist” and be chosen “from among distinguished scientists with specialized or significant experience in agricultural research, education, and economics.” But the guy Trump plugged into USDA as his eyes and ears and is now expected to nominate as chief scientist has no discernible hard science background, never mind agricultural subcategories. And as it turns out, this guy Clovis is who brought Carter Page to Trump's attention and into his administration.... Clovis has never taken a graduate course in science and is openly skeptical of climate change. While he has a doctorate in public administration and was a tenured professor of business and public policy at Morningside College for 10 years, he has published almost no academic work. Clovis is better known for hosting a conservative talk radio show in his native Iowa and, after mounting an unsuccessful run for Senate in 2014, becoming a fiery pro-Trump advocate on television. Clovis advised Trump on agricultural issues during his presidential campaign and is currently the senior White House advisor within the USDA, a position described by The Washington Post as “Trump’s eyes and ears” at the agency. Clovis was also responsible for recruiting Carter Page, whose ties to Russia have become the subject of intense speculation and scrutiny, as a Trump foreign policy advisor. Neither Clovis, nor the USDA, nor the White House responded to questions about Clovis’ nomination to be the USDA’s undersecretary for research, education and economics. He has been a conservative talk show host, a Trump campaign supporter, a controversial primary candidate for the Senate seat Joni Ernst holds in Iowa, a public policy professor at Morningside College (Iowa). He resigned from his faculty position after Trump's election. Clovis has a B.S. in political science from the U.S. Air Force Academy, an MBA from Golden State University and a doctorate in public administration from the University of Alabama. The University of Alabama canceled the program the year after Clovis graduated, but an old course catalogue provided by the university does not indicate the program required any science courses. Clovis’ published works do not appear to include any scientific papers. His 2006 dissertation concerned federalism and homeland security preparation, and a search for academic research published by Clovis turned up a handful of journal articles, all related to national security and terrorism. His predecessor, Catherine Woteki, focused on helping famers deal with impact of severe weather patterns, and created "climate hubs" in the US to help come up with regional solutions to climate change issues. She was also asked to consult on other issues related to USDA research. But Clovis said that since Trump is a climate change skeptic, "we need more science and once we get more science we'll make decisicions." Woteki meanwhile emphasized the scientific underpinnings of the undersecretary's responsibilities. “Access to safe food and clean air and water is absolutely fundamental to personal security,” she said, adding that a scientific understanding of food safety is critical to success in the job. “Food systems are widely recognized by the national security community as being part of critical infrastructure.” Clovis’ academic background includes years of study on homeland security, but focused almost exclusively on foreign policy. A biography he provided to the 2016 Fiscal Summit at which he was a speaker indicates he is “a federalism scholar” and “an expert on homeland security issues,” with “regional expertise in Europe, the former Soviet Union, and the Middle East.” Neither this biography nor any other publicly available biographies list any experience in food safety, agriculture or nutrition.