Vilsack names Karla Thieman as USDA chief of staff

By Agri-Pulse staff

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WASHINGTON, Sept. 18, 2015 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the appointment of Karla Thieman as chief of staff for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The position was recently vacated by Brian Baenig, who moved to the Biotechnology Industry Organization as vice president of its Food and Agriculture Section.

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Thieman joined USDA in April 2014, serving as a senior policy advisor to Vilsack. Most recently she was working as chief of staff to Deputy Agriculture Secretary Krysta Harden. Prior to joining USDA, Thieman worked for the Senate Agriculture Committee for more than five years.

"Karla brings to this position strong leadership, sound judgement, and a fierce passion for agriculture and rural America," Vilsack said in a release. "Karla also understands that USDA is helping to lead transformational change across the country in energy, nutrition, trade, research, conservation, and in building a biobased economy from the ground up. Throughout her career, Karla has been a valuable advocate for farmers, ranchers and rural communities, and I am confident that she will continue to help USDA achieve great things in her new role."

Thieman previously served in leadership positions on the campaigns of Senators Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Mark Udall of Colorado and Michael Bennet, also of Colorado. Thieman grew up on a third-generation family farm in central Missouri where her family raised cattle, corn and soybeans. She has a degree in agricultural economics from the University of Missouri.

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