Thursday marks the end of an era, as USDA Chief Economist Keith Collins officially ends his career with the U.S. Department of Agriculture that has spanned more than 30 years.
When the announcement of his retirement was first made last year, many organizations, officials and politicians praised his service and dedication to agriculture. His knowledge of domestic and international supply and demand and price forecast of farm commodities and his candor in how those factors affect policy earned great respect from both sides of the aisle.
"You can't have a bias, you have to be apolitical, you have to focus on the facts and really look for what is true and accurate," Collins says. "I've carried that message when I've gone to Capitol Hill. I've felt that it's very important for me not to be partisan; and for me to be able to explain both the benefits and costs, the advantages and disadvantages of alternative policies."
USDA Deputy Economist Joe Glauber is taking over as chief economist.