Farm Service Agency Administrator: Who is Jonathan Coppess?

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The current administrator of the Farm Service Agency, Jonathan Coppess has been around farming and the agriculture industry his entire life, having come from a long line of farmers and worked on ag issues in Congress until recently.

Coppess, hails from seven generations of farmers. He grew up on his family’s corn and soybean farm in Darke County, Ohio, before attending the state’s Miami University. After earning his bachelor’s in business, he went to work for Archer Daniels Midland in the late 1990s as a grain merchandiser. Coppess was responsible for commodity purchasing, processed-product sales, and related hedging activities utilizing the Chicago Board of Trade.
He then went back to school to get his law degree from George Washington University in Washington, DC. He passed the bar in Illinois and went to work for Freeborn & Peters LLP in Chicago as a litigator from 2001-2005. In early 2004, he took time off to work for the presidential campagn of John Edwards.

Having decided to pursue a career in agricultural policy, Coppess moved back to Washington, DC, in February 2006 to work for Senator Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska) as a legislative assistant handling agriculture, energy and environment issues. He advised Nelson, a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, on agricultural issues and worked extensively on the 2008 Farm Bill legislation. Coppess also helped formulate policy on biofuels, rural development, energy, environmental and trade issues.

In May 2009, he joined the Farm Service Agency as the deputy administrator for farm programs, before being selected in July by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to take over the leadership of the agency.
Coppess and his wife, Susan, have one daughter.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Jonathan Coppess Biography (Farm Service Agency)


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