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U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Key Staff Appointments

WASHINGTON, January 20, 2023 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced the names of individuals who will hold senior staff positions in Washington, D.C.

Shavana Howard will be appointed Senior Advisor for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services

Shavana comes to USDA from the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services, where she has served as the Assistant Secretary of Family Support since 2020. She started her career with Washington’s Catholic Community Services and then the Commission on African American Affairs. Shavana served in the United States Navy for six years before joining Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services. Her roles there included managing the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, determining eligibility for SNAP, TANF and short-term disability programs, case management and working within the Workforce Development system to make Washington’s SNAP Employment & Training program a national model. Shavana holds a bachelor’s degree in social sciences from Washington State University.

Rebecca Kaufman has been appointed Senior Advisor for the Office of External Affairs, Rural Development

Rebecca joins USDA from AgLaunch, a 501(c)(3) supporting innovation in agriculture, where she served as Senior Director supporting strategic planning, partnership development, and program oversight. Before joining AgLaunch in 2017, she served as Director of Policy and Research at Delta Regional Authority. During this experience, Rebecca coordinated policy and research efforts for the federal-state agency focused on economic development in the Delta region. She graduated from the University of Mississippi and received a Master of Public Service at Clinton School of Public Service and a Juris Doctor from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Wesley Swanzy has been appointed Chief of Staff for the Chief Financial Officer

Wesley joins USDA from UBS Financial Services, where he served as a Business Risk Manager. In that role, Wesley oversaw the efforts to help mitigate risk events that could affect the firm’s financial health, legal compliance, or reputation, while leading the efforts to communication risk awareness and metrics for the Head of Wealth Management USA and other senior members. Prior to joining UBS Financial Services, Wesley honorably served as an Air Force Finance Officer managing billion-dollar appropriation accounts and serving at Headquarters Air Force, Major Command, and Wing level organizations across domestic and global landscapes. He currently holds the rank of Major in the United States Air Force Reserves and has a Bachelor of Science from Troy University and a master’s degree from Columbia Business School.


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