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Lobbyists: Putnam most likely Romney Ag secretary

Adam Putnam

Adam Putnam

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho — Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is the most likely candidate for Agriculture secretary if Mitt Romney is elected president, two key agricultural lobbyists said here last week.

Putnam, a former House member, is co-chairing Romney’s agricultural advisory committee along with Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., and also chairing Romney’s Florida campaign.

Jim Wiesemeyer, a vice president for farm and trade policy at Informa Economics Inc., said in a speech to the American Sugar Alliance here last Wednesday that the job would be Putnam’s to turn down. During a panel discussion at the same event, Mary Kay Thatcher of the American Farm Bureau Federation and Chandler Goule, vice president of government relations of the National Farmers Union also said that they believe Putnam is the most likely candidate.

Putnam did not return a call over the weekend seeking comment. He was elected to serve as Florida’s commissioner of agriculture in 2010, and is leader of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

According to his official biography, Putnam is a fifth-generation Floridian who grew up in the citrus and cattle industry and is “in charge of protecting the quantity and quality of the state’s water supply, securing a stable, reliable and diverse supply of energy, expanding access to Florida’s abundance of fresh produce and fostering the growth and diversification of Florida agriculture.”

Putnam served five terms representing Florida’s 12th Congressional District and was a member of the House Agriculture Committee. He has emphasized programs to restore the Everglades, improve food safety and increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables to counter childhood obesity.

Putnam was elected as the Republican Policy Chairman during the 109th Congress and chairman of the House Republican Conference for the 110th Congress, the highest elected leadership position any Floridian of either party has held in Washington.

He also served on the House Committees on Government Reform, Rules and Financial Services.

Before he was elected to Congress, Putnam served in the Florida House of Representatives from 1996 to 2000. He graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor of science degree in Food Resource and Economics.