Ag Secretary Mike Johanns accepted the resignation of J.B. Penn, Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services. Penn is leaving USDA to return to the private sector, according to a statement from Johanns office.
Penn began his tenure at USDA in May 2001 overseeing the activities of the Farm Service Agency, Foreign Agricultural Service and Risk Management Agency. In addition, he's been an activist in broadening trade relationships, specifically with resuming Asian beef trade and World Trade Organization talks.
Penn has agreed to head Deere & Company's new Office of the Chief Economist, with responsibility for analyzing global macro-economic, policy and trade developments to help the company achieve sustainable, strong business results. The appointment is effective September 1.
The company created the Office of the Chief Economist to help guide the company's policy development and corporate growth initiatives worldwide through the analysis of trends in economics, production, trade and governmental policies. The Chief Economist will apply his analyses to Deere's agricultural equipment business as well as the company's other core businesses of construction and forestry equipment, commercial and consumer equipment and its credit operations.
Johanns made this statement on word of Penn's department: "J.B. Penn's experience and leadership, from his diligent actions to assure timely implementation of the 2002 Farm Bill's provisions that assist domestic producers to his steadfast efforts to reduce trade barriers and increase our agricultural exports, have worked to improve the economic outlook for America's farmers and ranchers. His vision for international trade and development on behalf of our producers and agribusinesses is recognized around the world, and I have valued his counsel and determination through the many months of tough negotiations on the Doha Development Agenda. I thank him for this tremendous service. He will be missed at USDA and we wish him the best."