U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Key Personnel Appointments

WASHINGTON, July 5, 2022 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced the names of individuals who will serve in leadership positions in Washington, D.C.

Eric Deeble has been appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Office of Congressional Relations

Deeble joins the USDA from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, where he served as Director of Policy. Previously, he served as Senior Policy Advisor on Agriculture, Nutrition and the Arts for Senator Kristen Gillibrand. Prior to working on Capitol Hill, Deeble worked in the veterinary field. He became a member of the Pennsylvania State Board of Veterinary Medicine in 2013, the same year he received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Deeble holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthology and Biology from Rutgers University.

Bernhard “Bernie” Kluger will serve as Senior Management Advisor in the Office of the Secretary

Most recently, Kluger served as a senior adviser at the Small Business Administration, which he joined in March 2021. He served in the Obama administration from 2012 to 2017 in the Office of Personnel Management. Kluger has also held positions at the Federal Executive Institute, Groundswell Community Power, Public Insights Corp and Columbia University. He holds an MBA from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Economy from Williams College.

Yeshimebet Abebe has been appointed Director of Organizational Management and Cultural Transformation, Farm Production and Conservation Business Center

Abebe returns to the USDA after serving under the Obama administration from 2009 to 2017. During that time, she held several positions, including as Chief of Staff to the Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics (REE) and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary. for the administration. After working at the USDA, Abebe worked as an assistant county attorney in Black Hawk County, Iowa, and as a district representative for Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer. She earned a Juris Doctor from the University of Miami School of Law, a Master of Arts in International Law and Dispute Resolution from the UN-mandated University of Peace in Costa Rica, and a Bachelor of Science in Urban and Regional Studies from Cornell University. .

Toby Cain has been appointed chief of staff of the Risk Management Agency

More recently, Cain worked on the campaigns of Michael Franken in Iowa, Abigail Spanberger in Virginia, and Pete Buttigieg in Utah and Iowa. She has also worked as a sustainability coordinator for Luther College, education and outreach coordinator for the Iowa Organic Association, and education coordinator for the Seed Savers Exchange, among other roles. Cain holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Grinnell College and a Masters in Food Culture and Communication from the Università degli Scienze Gastronomiche in Pollenzo, Italy.

Anita Adkins will serve as Director of Human Capital

Adkins has served as Acting Director of Human Capital at USDA since October 2021. Previously, she served as Acting Director of the National Finance Center and Director of Human Resources for Rural Development. Adkins has held several leadership positions with the USDA, including Senior Advisor to the Director of Human Capital, Director of Human Resources Policy, and Senior Performance Management Specialist. She has also held leadership positions with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the US Forest Service; the Department of Defense, Defense Logistics Agency; and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

George Sears will serve as director of the Office of Small Business and Disadvantaged Business Utilization

Sears has served as director of the USDA Forest Service Office of Procurement and Real Estate Services since 2011. Previously, he served in Army Materiel Command as executive director of the National Capitol Region Contracting Center and director of technology for information in electronic commerce. and commercial procurement centre. Sears served in the US Army for 28 years. He holds a Masters in Strategic Studies from the US Army War College, a Masters in Business Administration from Brenau University, and a Bachelor of Science in Allied Health Studies from Howard University.

“The USDA benefits from the diversity and experience of its team, which we continue to build while doing essential work for the American people,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “I am proud to welcome Eric, Bernie, Yeshimebet, Toby, Anita and George to the team, and look forward to working with them.”


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