Snyder’s agriculture director resigns for federal job

Jonathan Oosting
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Lansing – Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director Jamie Clover Adams has resigned to take a new job with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Gov. Rick Snyder’s office announced Friday.

Snyder has appointed Chief Deputy Director Gordon Wenk to replace Clover Adams, whose resignation is effective March 3.

Clover Adams took over the state agriculture department in July 2012 and was the first woman named to the post. She is moving on to serve as an adviser in the office of U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.

“Jamie has served the state of Michigan with incredible commitment and leadership,” Snyder said in a statement. “She has been instrumental in the agricultural sector’s job growth and in helping to push Michigan over the $100 billion mark in economic impact from the food and agriculture industry. She will be missed, but we’re proud to have her serving farmers at the national level.”

Clover Adams is the latest department head to leave state government as Snyder’s tenure comes to a close. The term-limited governor cannot seek re-election this fall and his replacement will likely name new cabinet officials in 2019.

Wenk began working for the state agriculture department in 1978 and has served as deputy director since 2008, according to the Snyder administration. He’s credited with helping implement a Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program in partnership with the USA and also led development of the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program.

Snyder said Wenk should be able to “move seamlessly” into his new role as director.

“He has committed his entire career to the food and agriculture community and has done so with a focus on protecting and preserving our state’s incredible natural resources,” the governor said. “It’s reassuring to know that the successful progress and goals of MDARD will continue.”