Alabama native Keith Gray has been appointed chief of staff for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) by the Trump administration and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.
Gray has decades of political experience on and off Capitol Hill and formerly served as National Affairs director for the Alabama Farmers Federation and Alfa Insurance. Previously, he was a legislative assistant for then-U.S. Rep. Terry Everett, R-Alabama, who served on the House Agriculture Committee. More recently, Gray was president of Gray Matter Consulting, LLC.
“Agriculture is woven into the fabric of America’s rural communities. Providing crop insurance tools for farmers is important for them to manage and mitigate risks in farming,” said Gray, who grew up in Tallassee. “President Trump and Secretary Perdue have proven they are committed to farmers and are focused on improving services to them.”
RMA manages the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation to provide crop insurance products to America’s farmers and ranchers. Approved Insurance Providers (AIPs) sell and service Federal crop insurance policies through a public-private partnership with RMA. The agency backs AIPs who share risks associated with catastrophic losses due to major weather events.
“Our agency is determined to provide better service to our customers — American farmers — and USDA is focused on how we can deliver farm programs better and more efficiently,” Gray said. “This is an exciting opportunity for me, and I am happy to serve USDA and be a part of this team.”
RMA Administrator Martin Barbre, an Illinois farmer, was appointed earlier this year and was sworn in by Perdue April 30. He is the former president of the National Corn Growers Association.
“We’re really fortunate to have Keith on board at RMA,” Barbre said. “His extensive background in agriculture and grasp of the issues that farmers care about will help us achieve many of our goals — from expanding the farm safety net to increasing access to capital for beginning farmers.”
Federation President Jimmy Parnell congratulated Gray on his appointment.
“Keith has an excellent record of serving Alabama farmers, and we’re excited about the opportunity for him to put his knowledge and experience to work for USDA and farmers across America,” Parnell said.
Gray is a preferred trainer and chair of the Grants Management Committee of the Grant Professionals Association. He is also a trainer for the National Grants Management Association. Gray graduated from the University of Alabama with a B.A. in political science and a master’s in public administration. He also is a graduate of the George Mason School of Law in Arlington, Virginia. He is district chairman of Colonial District in northern Virginia and an executive board member of the Boy Scouts of America National Capital Area Council.
He and wife Nicole live in Alexandria, Virginia, and have two children.
by Debra Davis, Alabama Farmers Federation