Greg Ibach, now former Nebraska director of agriculture, took an oath of office and began official duties as an undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Nov. 6. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue conducted the ceremony at the historic Livestock Exchange Building in South Omaha, surrounded by more than 100 agriculture leaders, elected officials, and friends and family of Ibach.

“I think when you come to the department of agriculture, you need people who live and breathe agriculture, and that’s really what, as we fulfill our team, we’re picking authentic people who have not just a glancing awareness of how important agriculture is, but a heartbeat for America,” Perdue said.

Ibach will fulfill the roll of Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, which includes overseeing operations and policy development for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration, and Agricultural Marketing Service. 

“As you look at some of the responsibilities I will have in Washington D.C., they’re very similar to the roll I have played as Nebraska’s director of agriculture. I’m really looking at the experiences I’ve had and the familiarity I’ve gained with some of the programs I’m going to be able to translate directly to my responsibilities at the USDA, just taking a Nebraska focus and turning it into a national focus,” Ibach said.

Ibach, a farmer who raises cattle near Sumner, served at the Nebraska Department of Agriculture for nearly 19 years, 12 of those as director. While Ibach’s roots run deep in Nebraska, they were cultivated by his involvement in Nebraska Farm Bureau at an early age with the Young Farmers and Ranchers program.

“Farm Bureau has been a key to my wife and my growth in agriculture leadership. I would like to stress to any young people that are looking to become involved to get involved in an ag organization. Farm Bureau is a great one,” Ibach said.

“Greg is very much a farmer. He’s worn that hat and brought that voice throughout his service as Nebraska’s Director of Agriculture and that won’t change when he heads to Washington, D.C. We look forward to working with him in his new position and are confident he will be an asset to USDA and to American agriculture,” Steve Nelson, president of Nebraska Farm Bureau, said.

Ibach says he will strive for balance that will enable farmers and ranchers to be successful, while keeping and “open door” to hear their concerns.