Hunter H. Moorhead, a native of Greenville, Miss., and former agricultural aide to Sen. Thad Cochran, has been named Special Assistant to the President for Agriculture, Trade and Food Assistance.

Moorhead, who has been serving as a professional staff member on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, will become the Bush administration's point person for agricultural issues.

“This position is critical for agriculture as we embark on debating the 2008 farm bill and continuing trade negotiations,” said former National Cotton Council President Bruce Brumfield. “This job is important for all facets of agriculture such as research, rural development, and food assistance and nutrition programs.

“I can't think of a better place for the talents of someone like Hunter who has distinguished himself as one of the sharpest young minds in agricultural policy,” said Brumfield, a farmer from Inverness, Miss.

Moorhead, a graduate of Mississippi State University, is stepping into the position formerly held by Charles Conner, who is now deputy secretary of agriculture. Conner represented the Bush administration during the debate on the 2002 farm bill.

Chip Morgan, executive vice president of Delta Council, said Moorhead's appointment is indicative of the leadership on agricultural issues that has sprung from Sen. Thad Cochran's office in Washington.

“Hunter follows a long line of successful Cochran staffers who have become key players on the national and international agricultural stage,” said Morgan. Those include Mark Keenum, chief of staff for Sen. Cochran; Martha Scott Poindexter, staff director for the Senate Committee on Agriculture; and former Deputy Undersecretary of Agriculture Hunt Shipman.

“Hunter has a keen understanding of the issues that affect rural America and his advice and counsel to the White House during these critical times for agriculture will be important,” said Morgan.

While Delta agriculture's policy objectives have not always been in line with the White House over the past two decades — whether in the Clinton, Reagan, or the two Bush presidencies — “Moorhead will bring a Southern ag perspective and a wealth of congressional contacts that are certain to add to the administration's impact on the next farm bill,” said Morgan.

After graduating from Mississippi State, Moorhead worked as an agriculture legislative assistant for Rep. Mike Parker and staff director for the House Agriculture Committee. He is the son of Hunter Moorhead of Arcola, Miss., and Mrs. Guy Hovis of Jackson, Miss.