Trump’s UN ag ambassador pick talks climate change

President Donald Trump's nominee to be the next U.S. agriculture ambassador to the United Nations says coping with climate change would be one of his priorities if he's confirmed.

Indiana agribusiness executive Kip Tom told the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee at a confirmation hearing last week that the American agriculture industry "has always dealt with climate change," the Journal Gazette reported . "We know we need to adapt," Tom said.

"And fortunate for us here in the United States, we've had the benefit of land-grant universities and the private sector and our own sources to try to make sure we can deal with the effects of any changes that are happening with the climate," Tom said. "Not so is the case when you get into the many food-desperate nations around the world that are food-insecure."

Tom, CEO of Leesburg-based Tom Farms, ran unsuccessfully in the 2016 Republican primary election for northeastern Indiana's 3rd District, losing to eventual U.S. Rep. Jim Banks.

Trump nominated Tom for U.S. Representative to the U.N. Agencies for Food and Agriculture last month. If confirmed, Tom would oversee three U.N. agencies in Rome: the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Program.

Trump's administration is considering budget cuts of up to $4 billion for the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development. Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen asked Tom about the administration's proposal to "dramatically" reduce federal funding for foreign food programs.

"We need to reach out to our alliances around the world and again measure our success not by the dollars we invest" but by the "numbers we lift out of poverty," Tom said.

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