Dave Shipman
Dave Shipman

Dave Shipman has been named administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service.

Prior to his appointment, Shipman was acting administrator for AMS following the July 2011 departure of Rayne Pegg. She left and became manager of the California Farm Bureau Federation’s National Affairs and Research Division.

Pegg said Shipman will do an outstanding job as administrator.

“There is no one better for that job than Dave Shipman,” he said. Pegg said Shipman brings thoughtfulness, a steady hand, and experience in leadership to the position. “This is long overdue.”

At USDA since 1976, Shipman was named associate administrator of AMS in 2008. From 1994 until 2008, he was the deputy administrator for USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration.

As the leader of an agency primarily funded by user fees, Shipman has been responsive to fresh produce industry needs, said Tom O’Brien, Washington, D.C., representative for the Newark, Del.-based Produce Marketing Association. Shipman has been the senior career person at AMS and has a background in grain inspection programs that are similar to AMS programs, O’Brien said.

Shipman will do a great job for the USDA and the industry, Robert Guenther, senior vice president of public policy for the Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association said in a statement. “We look forward to working with Dave on a number of key issues and programs that AMS provides the produce industry," he said.

USDA-AMS establishes quality standards and delivers grading services, oversees the federal market news program and directs operation of industry-funded research and promotion programs. The agency also purchases more than a billion dollars of agricultural products every year for the school lunch program and other food assistance programs, according to a USDA news release. In support of this procurement program, Shipman has managed development of a multiple agency Web-based supply chain management system, according to the release.

He has also directed implementation of several 2008 farm bill provisions, including the country of origin labeling audit program and new grant programs to support organic agriculture and specialty crops, according to the agency.

Bob Keeney, deputy administrator of AMS, has been the “go to” person for the fresh produce industry at AMS, said Nancy Foster, president of the U.S. Apple Association, Vienna, Va. While Keeney is expected to continue in his role, Foster said Shipman will become much more familiar with the apple industry.

“In his role, we will be working to ensure that (Shipman) fully understands the apple industry and apple products since his agency purchases a lot of apples and apple products,” she said.