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U.S. Ag Secretary Johanns resigns, Connor steps up

U.S. Ag Secretary Johanns resigns, Connor steps up

The Bush administration announced Thursday that Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns has resigned.

   Johanns served as the country’s agriculture secretary for nearly three years. He was especially active in the agricultural aspects of recently negotiated free trade agreements and in efforts to fully restore U.S. beef export markets.

   In his resignation letter to the president, Johanns highlighted that agricultural exports should reach a fourth consecutive record year, with an estimated value of $79 billion. About 40 U.S. beef export markets have also been restored and shipments of this commodity have increased 18 percent over last year, he said.

   Johanns will be replaced by Charles F. Connor, who was sworn in as deputy U.S. agriculture secretary in May 2005.

   Prior to this appointment, Connor served on the National Economic Council starting in November 2001 as a special assistant to the president for agricultural trade and food assistance, focusing primarily on Farm Bill issues.

   From 1997 to 2001, Connor was president of the Corn Refiners Association, and prior to that held several staff positions with the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.

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