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Governor Hogan Appoints Jim Eichhorst Deputy Secretary of Agriculture

MDA Deputy Secretary James P. Eichhorst

MDA Deputy Secretary Jim Eichhorst

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan has appointed James P. Eichhorst – the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) Director of Strategic Planning – to serve as Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, effective October 1. Eichhorst replaces Mary Ellen Setting, who retired on September 30 after serving MDA for 38 years in various capacities.

Eichhorst is a fifth generation corn and soybean farmer in East Central Illinois, where he made all production, management, and marketing decisions on his family farm. He maintains his ownership in that operation today.  Prior to joining MDA, Eichhorst was director of state government relations for the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) where he advocated on behalf of BIO members, which include biotech providers in agriculture and healthcare. Eichhorst was also director of federal government relations for BIO’s Food and Agriculture Section.

“We are pleased to announce this appointment,” said Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder. “Jim’s extensive experience as a farmer and his experience with various agricultural organizations will be a tremendous asset to this administration as we strengthen the agriculture community’s voice in Maryland. His vision and knowledge will be invaluable in helping to guide our outstanding staff and strengthen MDA’s important programs for the benefit of all Marylanders.”

As deputy secretary, Eichhorst will manage the day-to-day operations of the agency to achieve the conservation, preservation, regulatory, educational and service responsibilities of the department. These activities assure a healthy environment and food supply, fairness in the marketplace and ensures that agriculture will remain a strong economic force in the state.

“I am honored and excited by the opportunity to help lead the agency,” said Eichhorst. “I look forward to using my experience with the agricultural industry to advance the goals of the agency and the Administration while maintaining a viable agricultural sector here in Maryland.”

Previously, Eichhorst served in two positions at the U.S. Department of Agriculture as an appointee in the Administration of President George W. Bush. In those roles, he served as director of intergovernmental affairs and director of external affairs for the Farm Service Agency. He also served as Chief of Staff, Legislative Director, and Legislative Assistant for two U.S. Congressmen: Thomas W. Ewing (IL-15) and Timothy V. Johnson (IL-15).

Prior to his service in Washington, D.C., Eichhorst spent nearly eight years with the Illinois Farm Bureau and its family of companies, including the Illinois Corn Growers Association, Illinois Corn Marketing Board, and Country Companies Insurance.

Eichhorst resides in Annapolis with his wife Amy, who is the executive director of The University of Maryland Alumni Association.

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Contact Information

If you have any questions, need additional information or would like to arrange an interview, please contact:

Jason Schellhardt
Director of Communications
Telephone: 410-841-5888

Megan Guilfoyle
Public Information Officer
Telephone: 410-841-5889