Former FSA state director Brad Pfaff to serve as Secretary for DATCP

Colleen Kottke
Wisconsin State Farmer
Brad Pfaff

The former Wisconsin Executive Director of the Farm Service Agency has been appointed as Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

Rep. Ron Kind confirmed that his current Deputy Chief of Staff and senior advisor has been appointed to the state post by Governor-elect Tony Evers. Pfaff oversaw the FSA under the Obama Administration.

Evers also on Friday announced he has appointed Brad Pfaff to lead the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Pfaff currently works for U.S. Rep. Ron Kind and previously oversaw the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency under the Obama administration. 

"Brad Pfaff has dedicated his life to ensuring Wisconsin's farmers, workers and families have the resources and tools they need to succeed," said Kind in a news release. "Brad's service as a senior advisor on my staff has been exceptional, and I know that the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection—and the state of Wisconsin—will be stronger under his leadership.”

Pfaff, a Wisconsin native, worked for Rep. Kind for several years before heading up the state's FSA office in 2009. He also served as the national Deputy Administrator for Farm Programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

At the national level, Pfaff was in charge of farm under the 2014 farm bill. He rejoined Kind’s staff in 2017.

Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation President Jim Holte says Pfaff is no stranger to the Wisconsin agricultural community.

"His rural roots give him a solid foundation to serve our farmers well in a stressed economic time," Holte said in a statement.

Holte believes that Pfaff will be a good advocate for the state's agricultural industry that  contributes more than $88 billion to the state’s economy.

"Brad will be a good advocate to help maintain the health of the industry and continue to build on what his predecessors established in resources for the agricultural community," Holte said. "Wisconsin Farm Bureau looks forward to working with Brad as the leader of an agency that is vital to our state’s farmers.”

Wisconsin Farmers Union President Darin Von Ruden also felt positive about the appointment.

"We have appreciated working with Brad during his time with the Farm Service Agency and as a staff member for Congressman Kind, and we look forward to continuing to work with him in his new role as DATCP Secretary."  

Jeff Lyon, General Manager of FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative for former Deputy Secretary of DATCP, says he has had a "long and positive working relationship with (Pfaff) both of the state and national level.

Lyon says Pfaff's agricultural background and experience in managing the State FSA will serve him well as the head of DATCP.

“Brad has a history of working with all groups for the betterment of agriculture,” said Lyon in a news release, “He understands the importance of animal health, food safety, ag resource management and agriculture’s role as an economic driver in the state.”

Pfaff succeeds Sheila Harsdorf was appointed Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture in November 2017, following the retirement of Ben Brancel. Harsdorf served in the state legislature for more than 25 years.