Adam Putnam, a former Florida ag commissioner and member of Congress, will take over as the new CEO for Ducks Unlimited at the beginning of April.

Putnam served in the House of Representatives for five terms before being elected in 2011 as Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture.

In a statement, Putnam said he's been a DU member since he was 16, and as CEO, he plans to "bring together conservation-minded folks from all walks of life, whether they’re farmers, city-dwellers, veterans, biologists, hunters … anyone who has a connection to landscapes, which is everyone.”

“If we are going to fill the skies with waterfowl, we must build a coalition of people who believe waterfowl-filled skies matter," he added. "We need to work together to reach a common goal of healthy wetlands and abundant water for wildlife, people and their communities across North America.”  

As Florida's ag commissioner, Putnam was responsible for the management of 1.3 million acres of state forests, ran the state Energy Office and directed the state’s school nutrition programs. 

Putnam also led efforts to expand Florida’s best management water practices program, which encouraged farmers to voluntarily adopt measures to reduce their water use and minimize the use of nutrients that negatively impact the environment. More than 7 million acres of agricultural lands in Florida are now said to be enrolled in the program.

Putnam also created more than 40 conservation easements through the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program, which preserves Florida’s land that is critical to wildlife habitat and water quality. 

Putnam unsuccessfully ran in Florida's gubernatorial election in 2018, falling to eventual winner Ron DeSantis in the Republican primary.

DU President Rogers Hoyt said the group was searching for a new CEO with "a unique balance of conservation, policy and agriculture background," and feel "we have hit on all three" with Putnam. 

DU’s current CEO, Dale Hall, is set to retire from the company on June 30, but will stay on to help with the transition of responsibilities. Putnam plans to relocate to DU's Memphis headquarters.

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