Jan 3, 2019
Michigan names new head of ag

Gary McDowell

Michigan Governor-elect Gretchen Whitmer recently announced a new head of the Department of Agricultural and Rural Development.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development will be headed by Gary McDowell, a farmer and former State Representative who owns and operates McDowell Brothers Farm and McDowell Hay, along with his brothers Bob and Ron. A lifelong resident of Rudyard, Michigan, McDowell served for 22 years on the Chippewa County Board of Commissioners and for six years as a State Representative for the 107th District. McDowell attended Lake Superior State University.

“A lifelong farmer and public servant, Gary has a deep understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing our state’s agricultural industry as well as critical insights on rural development opportunities throughout Michigan,” Whitmer said in a news release.

A brief biography on Michigan.gov describes McDowell’s background in agriculture:

“Mr. McDowell was born and raised on a farm in Rudyard, Michigan. He owns and operates a family business with his brothers, McDowell Brothers Farm and McDowell Hay Incorporated, and brokers hay sales from the eastern Upper Peninsula to markets around the nation.”

Whitmer also announced the state Department of Environmental Quality will be led by Liesl Eichler Clark, co-founder and partner of 5 Lakes Energy, a policy consulting firm that serves businesses, policymakers and other stakeholders seeking to advance the transition to a clean energy economy. Clark, a Howell resident, has also served as president of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council and as deputy director for energy programs at the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor, & Economic Growth. Clark holds a master’s degree from Michigan State University and a bachelor’s degree from MSU’s James Madison College.

“Liesl will be instrumental in finding real and lasting solutions to protecting our water resources here in the state,” Whitmer said. “She brings an acute understanding of the critical intersection between environmental safety and business innovation, which will be essential in moving Michigan’s environmental stewardship forward.”





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