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 on private lands. NRCS has more than 10,000 employees across the country and a budget of about $4 billion.
Before joining NRCS, Kirk served in the Clinton White House for eight years and was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1997 as Special Assistant to the President. In this role he worked directly with the President and was responsible for briefing him daily on issues related to events both domestically and internationally. Kirk was also 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. Kirk has more than 30 years of executive level experience in the government and private sector.
Kirk is a native of Hancock County, Illinois growing up on the banks of the Mississippi River in a family with generations of both farmers and towboat captains. His roots have given him a deep appreciation for protecting the land and rivers for future generations.
Kirk earned an associate degree from Southeastern Iowa Community College and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Western Illinois University. Kirk maintains two homes – one in Arlington, Virginia and one overlooking the Mississippi River in Nauvoo, Illinois.