Nearly a year ago, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said at the Montana Ag Summit that he wanted the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to be accessible and helpful.

“I don’t want to be looking at the clock, at 15 minutes to five, wrapping up everything, cutting off your computer. I want us to be available when people need us and walk in,” Perdue said.

Perdue may have recently gave an example that those words weren’t just a hollow promise, as his administration recently tapped Sean McKeon as the state executive director of the USDA’s Delaware Farm Service Agency (FSA).

I’ve known Sean for several years now, as prior to his appointment he served as the director of communications and community relations for Mountaire Farms.

McKeon was accessible in person and from a distance

From my perspective, McKeon, while with Mountaire Farms, certainly demonstrated a willingness to be responsive and helpful.

Recently, when I had questions concerning the news concerning Mountaire, such as a recent fire at its poultry plant in Selbyville, Delaware, or those of water quality concerns surrounding the properties neighboring the company’s poultry operations in Millsboro, Delaware, McKeon always responded in a timely basis via telephone or email, and provided me with the information I sought.

If only I could say that about all companies’ communications directors.

But McKeon also had a public presence that went beyond his phone and computer. He was out at industry events, as well. Just a few weeks ago, I had several visits with him while we both attended the 2018 Animal Agriculture Alliance Stakeholders Summit. I also recall having a conversation with him at the 2016 edition of that event, as well as at the 2017 Chicken Marketing Summit.

This is the type of person that we need in government roles. I have confidence he will continue to demonstrate that accessibility with the FSA.

I thank Sean for all the work he has done in the past, and wish him well in his new role.