USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack appointed Kirk Hanlin as Assistant Chief of NRCS in July 2013. As Assistant Chief, he is central to the agency’s leadership team, providing oversight and guidance for implementation of NRCS programs which help protect the environment, preserve the nation’s natural resources and improve agricultural sustainability through voluntary conservation of private lands. NRCS has 11,500 employees across the country and a budget of about $4 billion.
Before joining NRCS, Hanlin served in the Clinton White House for eight years and was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1997 as Special Assistant to the President working directly with the President responsible for briefing him on a daily basis on issues related to events both domestically and internationally. Hanlin was responsible for coordination and ongoing communication with all levels of individuals and groups related to the President’s daily activities.
He also has extensive experience in the private sector, including serving as Vice President and adviser to the CEO of UAI, Inc. and Executive Vice President and Senior Adviser to the CEO of EnerGenetics Energy LLC. Hanlin has more than 30 years of executive level experience in the government and private sector.
Hanlin is a native of Hancock County, Ill. growing up on the banks of the Mississippi River in a family with generations of both farmers and towboat captains giving him a deep appreciation for protecting the land and rivers for future generations.
He earned an associate’s degree from Southeastern Iowa Community College and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Western Illinois University.
Hanlin maintains two homes – one in Arlington, Va. and one overlooking the Mississippi River in Nauvoo, Ill.