U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces More Key Staff Appointments

WASHINGTON, Jan. 21, 2021 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced the names of individuals who will hold senior staff positions in Washington, D.C., including:


David Grahn was named Principal Deputy General Counsel in the Office of General Counsel. Most recently, Grahn served as the Director of the Office of Regulatory Policy at the Farm Credit Administration. Before that, he served for almost 27 years in the Office of the General Counsel at USDA. Grahn holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Minnesota and a bachelor’s degree from Carleton College.

Farah Ahmad was named Chief of Staff in the Office of the Under Secretary for Rural Development. Most recently, Ahmad served as the Senior Program Coordinator in the Office of Consumer Education and a Senior Advisor to the Chief Operating Officer at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Prior to her time at CFPB, she served as the Program Manager on the Community and Economic Development team in the Rural Business Cooperative Service at USDA and Senior Policy Analyst at Center for American Progress. She holds a master’s from Princeton University and a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University.

Olugbenga Ajilore was named Senior Advisor in the Office of the Under Secretary for Rural Development. Previously, Ajilore served as a senior economist at the Center for American Progress and former president of the National Economic Association. Before joining CAP, he worked as an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Toledo. He holds a PhD in economics from Claremont Graduate University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Mike Schmidt was named Senior Advisor in the Office of the Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. Previously, Schmidt was Senior Professional Staff for the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry under ranking member Senator Debbie Stabenow. Schmidt held several positions at USDA in the Obama Administration, including Associate Administrator for Policy and Programs in the Farm Service Agency. At USDA, Schmidt was also responsible for implementation of 2014 Farm Bill programs related to commodities, dairy, conservation and risk protection. Schmidt is a graduate of Virginia Tech and has a master’s degree from the University College London.

Marcus Graham was named Deputy Administrator for Field Operations in the Farm Service Agency. Most recently, Graham served as the Legislative Director in the Office of External Affairs, among other positions at the Farm Service Agency. He served on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry under Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow during 2011-2012. He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in agricultural sciences and agribusiness from Tennessee State University.

Matt Herrick was named Director of Communications in the Office of Communications. Most recently, Herrick served as Senior Vice President with the International Dairy Foods Association. Previously, he served as USDA Director of Communications in the Obama Administration, and as Press Director for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). He’s held similar leadership roles with Oxfam America and the Rockefeller Foundation. He graduated from the College of the Holy Cross and holds a master’s degree from Syracuse University.

By Brian Allmer - The BARN

Brian Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.