USA Ambassador Profile
Ed Kee, a sixth generation Delawarean, is currently serving as Delaware Secretary of Agriculture, having been appointed to the post by Delaware Governor Jack Markell on January 21, 2009. Kee began his agricultural career as the Farm Manager for Nassau Orchards in Lewes, Delaware (1975 – 1978) and had a long and illustrious career with the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension (1978 – 2008). In 2004, he was appointed as the Extension Agricultural Program Leader. Following his retirement from the University of Delaware in 2008, Kee was the Director of Agriculture for Hanover Foods Corporation in Clayton, Delaware until his appointment as Secretary of Agriculture.
Ed is a nationally and internationally recognized expert on vegetable science, especially lima beans. He has also received many awards for his outstanding contributions to Delaware agriculture and public service, among them are the following:
Ed graduated from the University of Delaware in 1973 with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture. Kee has two Master’s Degrees from the University of Delaware; a Master of Science in Plant Science in 1975 and a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies in 1996. He has authored or co-authored more than 30 articles in peer-reviewed scholarly journals. These include articles published in the fields of horticulture, vegetable science, agricultural engineering, agricultural economics, history and civil rights.
He has lectured on agricultural or historical topics across the United States and in Mexico, Germany, Hungary, Canada, Chile, New Zealand and the Ukraine. In 2010, Kee served as President of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, which includes all 50 states and 4 territories. During his University career and as Secretary, Kee continues to be instrumental in attracting major food processors to Delaware, creating jobs and opportunities for Delaware producers. As Secretary, he also created the Delaware Young Farmer’s Program, enabling beginning farmer’s to acquire their first farm. Ed resides on a farm.
In 2012, Jean was a guest delegate for the Nuffield Contemporary Scholars Conference, investigating ways to connect agricultural producers in the United States with programs like Nuffield and the individual scholars located throughout the world. Specifically, she focused on the role of the agribusiness industry in supporting leadership development programs and opportunities to expand and enhance connectivity between U.S. agriculture and the Nuffield International Farming Scholars program.
Jean’s career background includes former roles with Zoetis, Director of Communications and Executive Assistant to the Secretary of Agriculture for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and an agricultural education program coordinator, guiding the agricultural programs and a 120-acre educational farm for a 600 student high school located in the City of Philadelphia. She has also has agricultural marketing and media experience, having worked for the American Mushroom Institute, Holstein Association USA, and Farm Journal Media, Inc., and is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Rural Leadership Program.
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