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Ag Secretary Names New Leadership For FNCS, Including Former NGA Staffers

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U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has appointed three people to take on leadership roles within the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services (FNCS) division.

Brandon Lipps will serve as the administrator of the Food and Nutrition Service, and also as acting deputy under secretary of FNCS until the Senate confirms a permanent presidentially-nominated appointee. In addition, Maggie Lyons will serve as chief of staff and senior advisor to the under secretary, while Kailee Tkacz will serve as policy advisor.

Perdue said, “The health and nutrition programs administered by USDA play a tremendous role in the administration’s efforts to improve education and job readiness. I have no doubt that Brandon, Maggie and Kailee will help further our mission of feeding the world and making decisions in our nutrition programs that are science based and data driven. I welcome Brandon, Maggie and Kailee to the USDA family, and I thank them for their desire to serve this nation.”

Lipps most recently worked for the Texas Tech University System as the chief of staff and director of federal affairs in the Office of Chancellor Robert Duncan. In this role, Lipps was the leading force in developing policy initiatives and strategic priorities for the chancellor. Prior to joining the Texas Tech University System, he served as counsel and senior professional staff to the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture. While there, he led the nutrition policy team in developing the first reforms to, and fiscal savings from, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) since the welfare reforms of 1996. Lipps also served as Chancellor Duncan’s consultant, legislative aide and rural district director during his time as a Texas state senator. Lipps also is a former associate at the Lubbock law firm of Crenshaw, Dupree & Milam. He hails from Woodson, Texas, and graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics. Lipps earned his law degree from Texas Tech University School of Law.

Before joining the USDA, Lyons was the senior government relations director for the National Grocers Association (NGA), where she coordinated on all issues such as the SNAP and Women, Infants and Children programs at the retailer level, including assisting member stores with licensing issues and questions regarding those transactions. Prior to NGA, Lyons worked on Capitol Hill in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Lyons grew up in Wilson, North Carolina, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in corporate communications from Elon University.

Before coming to USDA, Tkacz served as the director of food policy for the Corn Refiners Association (CRA), leading strategic food and nutrition efforts at the international, federal, state and local levels. Prior to her time at CRA, Tkacz was director of government affairs for the Snack Food Association and also a government affairs manager for NGA. Her work experience has provided her with extensive knowledge of the food industry supply chain from farm to fork. Tkacz grew up in upstate New York and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, with a concentration in American politics and public policy, and a minor in history from the University at Buffalo.

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Kristen Cloud

A former newspaper editor and publisher, she once enjoyed leisurely perusing the grocery store aisles but, since having a baby in 2016, she is now an enthusiastic click-and-collect shopper.

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