New USDA deputy chief economist named

Vilsack names Dr. Warren Preston as new deputy chief economist effective Feb. 21.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the selection of Dr. Warren Preston as U.S. Department of Agriculture deputy chief economist, effective Feb. 21. He has served as senior economist for agricultural policy in the Office of the Chief Economist (OCE) since August 2015, after serving as USDA's acting deputy chief economist beginning in February 2015. He joined USDA in 1992.

"I am pleased that Dr. Preston's experience in program and policy analysis will continue to support informed decision-making at USDA, to the benefit of American agriculture," Vilsack said. "Dr. Preston is extremely well prepared for the demands of this position through years of experience in applying economic analysis to agricultural policy issues in USDA and in academia."

In his role as deputy chief economist for policy analysis, Preston advises the chief economist, the secretary and top policy officials regarding the economic implications of programs, regulations and legislative proposals affecting the U.S. food and fiber system and rural areas. He supports USDA policy decision-making by evaluating policy options on complex domestic and global agricultural issues and serves as the backup to the chief economist.

Prior to joining OCE, Preston served as an economist and associate deputy administrator analyzing and overseeing programs and policies across the full spectrum of marketing activities administered in the livestock, poultry and seed program of USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service. From 1992 to 2001, he worked as an economist and branch chief in the Packers & Stockyards Programs of USDA's Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration, playing a key role in integrating economic analysis into investigative procedures and processes. From 1986 to 1992, he held a research and teaching position as an assistant professor in the department of agricultural economics at Virginia Tech, focusing on agricultural marketing and the interface between public policies and food system performance.

Preston earned his master's and doctoral degrees in agricultural economics from Purdue University and a bachelor's degree in dairy science from The Ohio State University.

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