“Mr. Butz’s nomination as secretary of agriculture by President Nixon in 1971 was approved in the Senate by a vote of only 51 to 44, an extraordinarily close margin for a cabinet figure, as his ties to agricultural big business coming under criticism. Nevertheless, he asserted himself from the outset in making farm policy.
“Butz’s power as secretary of agriculture seemed overwhelming,” Joel Solkoff wrote in “The Politics of Food” (Sierra Club Books, 1985). “He made one decision to sell the Russians massive quantities of grain that virtually overnight transformed the basic problem of U.S. agricultural policy from what to do with the surplus to how to make up for the shortage.”
--The New York Times, February 4, 2008