2008 Capitol Hill Forum and Riley Memorial Lecture Agriculture, the Fuel for Sustainable Economic Development
12:00 noon February 28, 2008 Rayburn House Office Building Rooms B-339/40, Washington, D.C. (enter on Independence Avenue)
Mark E. Keenum USDA Under Secretary, Farm and Foreign Agricultural Service (FFAS)
Last degree: Ph.D., Agricultural Economics, Mississippi State University (MSU). Since first occupying his present position in 2006, Dr. Keenum has provided leadership and oversight for the USDA Farm Service Agency, the Risk Management Agency, and the Foreign Agricultural Service. He is responsible for the diverse interests of the U.S. food and agricultural sector abroad, involving the developing and expanding of markets for U.S. agricultural, fish, and forest products overseas. Dr. Keenum came to this post from Senator Thad Cochrane's staff, serving from 1989 to 1996 as his Legislative Assistant for Agriculture and Natural resources and, then, from 1996 to 2006, as his Chief of Staff, or his chief advisor on political, legislative, and appropriations issues. Earlier, after completing his first two academic degrees, Dr. Keenum joined in 1984 the Mississippi State University faculty as a Marketing Specialist with the Mississippi Cooperative Extension Service. Following receipt of the Ph.D., Dr. Keenum became an Assistant Professor/Economist with the Department of Agricultural Economics at MSU. During his professional tenure at MSU, his primary research and extension accomplishments dealt with the marketing and economics of aquaculture, specialty crops, and forestry. After joining Senator Cochrane's staff, he continued at MSU in the role of Agricultural Economics Adjunct Professor, with responsibility for a seminar on agricultural legislative policy.