USDA Chief Economist Keith Collins is retiring on Jan. 3, 2008. American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman says Collins will be missed.
"Keith has a genuine gift for analyzing complex market issues and coming up with a range of policy options. And yet, he has always been forthright and patient when explaining complicated topics," Stallman says. "Perhaps of even greater importance, he always presented economic information from a non-biased point of view. This means that Keith has always told the straight story, even when it sometimes wasn’t what you wanted to hear."
Collins has worked at USDA for more than 30 years and served as Chief Economist since 1992. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, says in that time ag secretaries and members of Congress from both sides of the aisle have depended on Collins for his knowledge and assessment of policy and economics. Ranking Member Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., commended him for his years of service.
"He has made countless contributions that have made a positive impact on American agriculture and rightly earned him the reputation as one of the most respected and objective voices in agriculture policy today," says Chambliss. "We will all miss Dr. Collins’ straight-forward approach and honest assessments as a frequent witness before the Senate Agriculture Committee."
Deputy Chief Economist Joe Glauber will take over as acting Chief Economist, and is expected to assume duties in mid-December. He is currently on temporary assignment to the office of the U.S. Trade Representative as a Special Agricultural Envoy to the Doha Round of World Trade Organization trade talks.