Department of Agriculture headquarters in Washington, D.C. Photo: Shutterstock

The U.S. Senate confirmed Stephen Vaden as the Department of Agriculture’s general counsel on Tuesday.

Vaden was nominated by President Donald Trump to serve as the general counsel of the USDA in September 2017. Two months after his nomination, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the union that represents the USDA’s attorneys and legal professionals, came out against Vaden, alleging that he is anti-union.

Stephen Vaden. Photo: Ken Hammond/USDA

“As someone who grew up in Obion County, Tennessee, and still regularly returns there on weekends, the challenges and issues facing rural America are personal to me. I look forward to continuing to work with Secretary [George 'Sonny'] Perdue and the rest of the USDA team to implement the president’s agenda to bring prosperity back to our rural communities,” Vaden said in an email in response to a request for comment.

Perdue said he is happy that Vaden was confirmed to be the USDA’s general counsel.

“He will continue to provide important legal advice and services to the department and our agencies as they operate the programs that are so important to our customers. Stephen’s roots on a working farm in Tennessee and expertise in the law will well serve the people of American agriculture,” Perdue said in an emailed response to a request for comment.

He has worked at the USDA since January 2017, when he was hired as a senior adviser to the Office of the General Counsel. He was then made principal deputy general counsel and was then made acting general counsel.

Before joining the USDA, according to his LinkedIn profile, Vaden worked as an associate at Squire Patton Boggs in Washington, D.C., and as an associate at Jones Day in Washington, D.C.