Burnham John “Bud” Philbrook has been named USDA’s deputy undersecretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services (FFAS). Philbrook will largely have responsibility for the international side of the FFAS mission area.
FFAS includes the Farm Service Agency (FSA), Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and Risk Management Agency (RMA). RMA and FSA programs help producers manage their business risks and improve the stability and strength of the domestic agricultural economy.
FAS works to expand existing and build new markets for U.S. products, improve the competitive position of U.S. agriculture in the global marketplace, and provide food aid and technical assistance to foreign countries.
“Bud Philbrook brings decades of experience that parallel USDA’s work around the globe, as well as leadership and service here at home,” said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Bud has served the citizens of Minnesota on agricultural and environmental issues. I am confident that his exceptional dedication to community development on a global scale makes him the right person to lead our international efforts fighting world hunger and supporting commodity trade.”
In 1984, Philbrook and his wife Michele Gran co-founded Global Volunteers, a St. Paul-based non-profit that sends up to 2,500 volunteers each year to 100 communities in 20 countries. Volunteers work with local citizens on agricultural, educational, health care and other challenges facing developing communities.
Before co-founding Global Volunteers, of which he is president, Philbrook worked on the presidential campaigns of Sens. Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern in 1972. In 1974, Philbrook was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives, serving on the education, agriculture and financial institutions committees. Following that, he was assistant commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
He was also a consultant to the Rural Ventures Program at the Control Data Corporation, and held numerous other positions in the private, public and volunteer sectors.
Philbrook received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota, his master’s degree from the Hubert Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota and earned a law degree from Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota.