The U.S. Senate confirmed Mark Keenum as Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services. USDA Secretary Mike Johanns said, "Mark has built a reputation as an honest, hard-working and insightful person. Those qualities will serve him well in his new role overseeing both our domestic farm support programs and our global efforts relating to ag trade."

Keenum had served as chief of staff to Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS). He's been involved in a number of previous farm bills and is a former assistant professor of economics at Mississippi State University.
-- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C., correspondent