T Nation

Obama Picks Two USDA Undersecretaries

WASHINGTON (Reuters) ? U.S. President Barack Obama has selected Kevin Concannon to run the government’s public nutrition programs and Rajiv Shah to oversee agricultural research and education, the White House said on Friday.

Both posts, as undersecretary at the Agriculture Department, require Senate confirmation. USDA is expected to spend more than $65 billion this fiscal year on nutrition programs such as school lunch and food stamps.

Concannon is director of the Iowa Department of Human Services, which is responsible for Medicaid, food assistance and low-income programs. He held similar positions in Maine and Oregon before appointment to the Iowa post in 2003.

Shah is director of agricultural development for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which awards grants to improve food quality and output in developing nations. In a previous post at the foundation, he helped develop and launch a project that raised $5 billion for child immunization. A medical doctor, Shah was medical advisor in Al Gore’s presidential campaign in 2000.