Friday, September 23, 2011

Video Conference with Senior USDA Official, Brandon Willis

This morning, our Food, Farming, & Sustainability class had the opportunity to hear from one of our alumni, Brandon Willis via digital video conference.  Since attending the LL.M. Program, Brandon has had a distinguished career in Washington, D.C.  He served as the Agriculture Legislative Assistant for U.S. Senator Max Baucus (2006-2009) and during that time drafted floor statements on agricultural issues and worked closely on legislation – including the 2008 Farm Bill, with a particular focus on the livestock disaster programs.  He also drafted legislation that supported the use of existing conservation programs to help fight the declining population of pollinators.

Brandon then served as a confidential assistant in USDA’s Office of the Undersecretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services.  He was elevated to the position of Deputy Administrator for Farm Programs (DAFP), overseeing all FSA programs under the Production Emergencies and Compliance Division (PECD), Conservation and Environmental Programs Division (CEPD), and Price Support Division (PSD).

Brandon recently accepted the position of Special Advisor to USDA Secretary Vilsack on farm programs and crop insurance issues.

The class had an opportunity to talk with Brandon about farm policy, current issues regarding the budget deficit and cuts to farm programs, and the 2012 Farm Bill.  He did a great job explaining the programs and the current political climate to the class.

Our thanks is extended to Brandon for doing a great job!

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