Secretary Vilsack announces appointment of Karla Thieman as USDA Chief of Staff

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Farm Forum

WASHINGTON, Sept. 18, 2015 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on September 18 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.

“Karla brings to this position strong leadership, sound judgement, and a fierce passion for agriculture and rural America,” said Vilsack. “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 as Chief of Staff.”

Thieman joined USDA in April 2014, serving as a Senior Policy Advisor to Secretary Tom Vilsack and, most recently, as Chief of Staff to Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden. Prior to joining USDA, Thieman worked for the Senate Agriculture Committee for more than five years, serving under three Chairs of the Committee: Senator Tom Harkin, Senator Blanche Lincoln, and Senator Debbie Stabenow. As senior professional staff on the Agriculture Committee, she handled a portfolio that included livestock, food safety, dairy, energy and climate change. Thieman previously served in leadership positions on the campaigns of Senators McCaskill, Udall and Bennet. 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.