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Block Won’t Tell Fellow Illinoisan How to Run USDA

March 7, 1991

WASHINGTON (AP) _ No way is John Block going to tell Edward Madigan how to run the Agriculture Department just because both are from Illinois. Block says he had his turn; now it’s Madigan’s.

Block was secretary of agriculture for five years in the Reagan administration, leaving the post in early 1986 to be president of the National-American Wholesale Grocers Association.

Madigan, selected by President Bush, was approved by the Senate today, 99-0.

Block was the first person from Illinois to be secretary of agriculture, and Madigan is the second, says USDA historian Doug Bowers. That doesn’t include Horace Capron, who was commissioner of agriculture in 1867-71 before the job was elevated to Cabinet status.

Madigan has spent more than 18 years in the House. Block operated a family- owned farm near Galesburg and was Illinois state director of agriculture before coming to Washington in 1981.

″He’ll do a good job,″ Block said in a telephone interview from Los Angeles where his association is having its annual convention. ″He comes in with an in-depth knowledge and appreciation for government and how it works, and that can be a help. He can hit the ground running.″

Block carried the administration’s market-oriented policies to Capitol Hill and worked hard to get the 1985 farm law passed. The 1990 act continued much of the basic framework and will help guide policy-makers for the next five years.

Like his predecessors and two successors - Richard Lyng and Clayton Yeutter - Block as secretary of agriculture was big on foreign market development as a means of boosting farm prices and incomes.

Madigan is out of the same mold and promised at his confirmation hearing to be a strong advocate of foreign trade.

″The one thing I think about (the USDA job) is that you need to take positions on issues, be firm and stay with them,″ Block said. ″Even if you can’t win ’em, you can’t be all over the board on issues. I think a firm position on policy is an absol 0 gress, not that I didn’t work with them″ on Capitol Hill.

″But (Madigan) understands that, so that’s something he won’t have to worry much about,″ he added.


WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. cigarette exports last year continued at a brisk pace, totaling around 164 billion ″pieces″ valued at $5 billion, according to an Agriculture Department trade report.

That was up 15 percent in volume and 38 percent in value from 1989, said the report by the department’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

Major markets last year included: Belgium-Luxembourg, 53.5 billion pieces; Japan, 47.6 billion; Hong Kong, 16.5 billion; United Arab Emirates, 7 billion; and Saudi Arabia, 6 billion.

The analysis also included a world forecast of 1990 unmanufactured tobacco at about 6.3 million metric tons, down slightly from 6.31 million tons in 1989.

A list of selected countries showed China continued as the world’s leading tobacco producer in 1990 with about 2.45 million tons.

Other major tobacco producers included: United States, 649,241 tons; India, 452,820; Brazil, 350,000; Soviet Union, 215,000; and Turkey, 209,280.

The United States continued as the world’s 0 ture Department says that can mean more butter, cheese and other manufactured products.

In January, butter output was about 142 million pounds, up 12 percent from January 1990 and 22 percent more than in December, according to the most recent figures issued Wednesday.

Total cheese production w 0

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