Connor Steps in as Agriculture Secretary after Johanns' Resignation

New USDA chief grew up on a farm, has long history of service to agriculture.

Published on: Oct 28, 2007

Chuck Connor was named acting Secretary of Agriculture to replace former Secretary Mike Johanns, effective at the time of the announcement of Johann's retirement on Sept. 20. Connor had been serving as Deputy Secretary under Johanns.

Connor, while serving under Johanns, played a big role in shaping USDA's view of a new farm bill, particularly the agency's emphasis on wider participation for smaller and alternative farmers.

Provisions preferred by USDA come out of a listening tour the agency sponsored that reached out to farmers and others in the rural community across the country. Connor spent much time on that listening tour, listening to farmers and operators of all types of farms.

Connor hails from Benton County, Indiana. His brother, Mike, today operates the family farm that Chuck Connor grew up on. Before joining USDA the new ag chief served as Special Assistant to the President for Agricultural Trade and Food Assistance, focusing primarily on Farm Bill issues.

I can assure you that I leave the farm bill finalization in supremely capable hands," Johanns wrote in his resignation. "Deputy Secretary Chuck Connor has been intimately involved in the deliberations – from the development of our proposals to his attendance at virtually every hearing during the House markup. Few people are as knowledgeable and insightful about farm bill policy."

Read more of the story in the November issue of Carolina-Virginia Farmer.