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USDA Appoints Key Leaders

The U.S. Department of Agriculture revealed Wednesday individuals who will hold senior staff positions for the department in Washington, D.C.

Georgette Furukawa has been appointed chief of staff for the Agricultural Marketing Service

Most recently, Furukawa served at the White House as an advisor to the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander team in the Office of the Chief of Staff where she managed domestic and foreign policy and stakeholder engagement on a variety of issues such as economic development and equity and lead interagency matrix management of subject matter experts and political leadership for priority initiatives of the Administration.

Jayme Holliday has been appointed senior advisor for food, nutrition, and consumer services

Holliday worked most recently for the U.S. House of Representatives, her experience spanning several roles, most recently as senior policy advisor for Representative Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan. In this role, she managed the Congressman's policy work on the House Education and Workforce Committee and the Democratic Caucus Task Force on Agriculture and Nutrition in the 21st Century to include food and agriculture policy, early and higher education, and workforce development.

Sarah Dietch has been appointed chief of staff for Rural Development

Dietch comes to USDA from the United States Peace Corps, where she served as director of Peace Corps response. In this role, she led efforts to reimagine Peace Corps service developing policy, implementing programming, and securing resources to provide short-term, high-impact service opportunities for Americans to serve as Peace Corps Response Volunteers and Virtual Service Pilot Participants. During her tenure, Sarah also led the second-ever domestic deployment of Peace Corps Volunteers in support of Community Vaccination Centers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Betsy Dirksen Londrigan has been appointed administrator for the Rural Business Cooperative-Service

Dirksen Londrigan previously served as USDA’s rural development state director for Illinois since January 2022 and will take on this new role in mid-January upon the departure of Dr. Karama Neal, who is departing USDA and returning to Arkansas. Dirksen Londrigan has over 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, working with community, regional, and state leaders to effect positive change.

Kevin Shea has been named senior advisor in the Office of the Deputy Secretary

Since 2013, Shea has served as the administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, where he led USDA’s efforts to protect the health, safety, and value of American agriculture and wildlife. He has over 40 years of experience at APHIS and has played a key role in several USDA transitions, including most recently as acting deputy secretary from February 28 to July 17, 2023.

Dr. Michael Watson has been named administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

Watson has been the associate administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service since 2018. In this role, he has worked with the Administrator to oversee the day-to-day operations of the agency in support of the mission to protect American agriculture. He has served as acting administrator on several occasions, including most recently when administrator Kevin Shea was appointed Acting Deputy Secretary in February 2023.

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