(Washington) -- After months of delay, Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey is finally joining the USDA.

By a voice vote Tuesday morning, the U.S. Senate approved Northey's appointment by President Trump as under secretary of agriculture. Texas Senator Ted Cruz placed a hold on Northey’s nomination in October in a dispute connected to the Renewable Fuels Standard. Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst praised Northey's appointment in a joint conference call with reporters. Grassley says he's glad the hold on Northey's confirmation was lifted.

"We finally got the hold on Northey raised," said Grassley, "so, Northey can now be sworn in, and get to work helping all farmers all across the country, just like he helped Iowa farmers for 12 years."

Ernst says she was thrilled that Northey was finally confirmed.

"His long overdue confirmation to this essential role in the USDA is great news for our state and our country," said Ernst. "His experience as a farmer, and as Iowa's secretary of agriculture, makes him the idea candidate."

The Red Oak Republican says she's glad her Senate colleagues discovered what Iowans have known about Northey all along.

"Bill Northey knows agriculture," she said. "He has worked with diligence and dedication to help farmers and ranchers across Iowa, and will continue to serve as a powerful voice for agriculture and conservation across the country."

Northey's confirmation followed a meeting at the White House between both senators, Trump, Cruz, Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. Ernst says Cruz indicated no change in his stance from a December meeting, when he raised the bar for Northey's confirmation.

"We had a meeting in December," said Ernst. "I hosted that meeting in my office, and we saw many of the same players there. And, he (Cruz) again pushed the bar a little further, and again, and again. So, again, we did meet today (Tuesday) at the White House, and had the same conversation as we had back in November. So, no different outcome at all."

Ernst and Grassley say no deal was reached regarding RFS standards at Tuesday's meeting, and no assurances or commitments were made to change the RFS ahead of the meeting. Grassley says he reminded the president of his commitment to maintaining 15 billion gallons a year of ethanol under the RFS, and his commitment to biofuels, agriculture and rural America.