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Texan named to high USDA position

Dr. Jim Butler of College Station has been named deputy undersecretary of Marketing and Regulatory Programs by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman.

Butler was deputy vice chancellor of agriculture at Texas A&M University where he had previously served for 10 years as chief liaison with industry groups and federal and state officials for the university's Agriculture Program.

“I have a very high regard for Jim and the work he's done in agriculture, both in academia and in the private sector,” Veneman said. “He brings to USDA a thorough knowledge and understanding of agriculture that will serve our department well.”

USDA's Marketing and Regulatory Programs oversees the Agriculture Marketing Service, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration. The division safeguards the nation's animals and crops from pests and diseases, monitors the agricultural marketing system, ensures fair trade practices, and assures value and quality in agricultural products that are bought and sold.

“Dr. Butler's leadership has been invaluable in our efforts to create and strengthen partnerships with our many stakeholders,” said Dr. Ed Hiler, vice chancellor and dean of agriculture and life sciences at Texas A&M. “I know that he will be a great asset for the USDA and for the nation's producers and consumers in his new capacity.”

Butler earned a bachelor's degree from Texas A&M in 1973, and a master's from New Mexico State University in 1975, both in animal science. His doctorate in animal physiology was earned from the University of Arizona in 1979.

He became active in sheep and cattle ranching and, after a two-year stint as Extension sheep specialist in Colorado, he was named National Wool Growers Association executive vice president in 1987. He returned to Texas in 1990 to become associate vice chancellor for external affairs with Texas A&M's Agriculture Program.

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