Van Ness Feldman Hires USDA Senior Advisor, Furthers Capabilities in Biofuels, Clean Energy and Public Policy

January 28, 2011

Van Ness Feldman is pleased to announce Mark Palmer has joined the firm as Senior Director, Governmental Issues. Mr. Palmer was formerly with the Office of the Secretary at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), where he served the Farm Service Agency (FSA) as a Senior Advisor and was Director of the Office of External Affairs. His experience with USDA policy objectives will be particularly valuable to the firm’s biofuel, renewable energy, clean tech, and public policy clients.

While at USDA, Mr. Palmer coordinated agriculture and energy policy messaging for FSA with the White House, presented Agency policies and represented Secretary Vilsack on Capitol Hill, and formulated the Agency’s legislative program with the Office of the Secretary.  He also developed complex legislative and communications strategies, such as the 2008 Farm Bill implementation, and provided specialized advice to congressional committees in both the Senate and the House.  In addition, Mr. Palmer was responsible for developing and executing key policy objectives and analyzing legislation affecting program operations in support of USDA goals. 

Prior to his work at USDA, Mr. Palmer was Chief Policy Advisor to the Chair of the House Committee on Small Business, Representative Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY-12), a Legislative Assistant to Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), and held senior policy positions with the National Corn Growers Association and the American Soybean Association.

“Mark’s experience offers additional depth and expertise to our biofuels, clean energy and public policy clients. He brings a deep understanding of energy opportunities for clients in the new Congress and with the Administration,” said Ben McMakin, Van Ness Feldman's Government Relations and Public Policy Practice Coordinator.

Mr. Palmer, 37, received a M.A. in Government from Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and a B.A. from Western Illinois University in 1995.  He can be reached at 202.298.1951 or via email at

With 90 professionals in Washington, D.C. and Seattle, WA, Van Ness Feldman focuses on law and policy relating to:  Electricity; Energy Efficiency and Smart Grid; Environment; Climate Change; Renewable Energy, Cleantech, and Biofuels; Coal and CCS; Natural Gas; Nuclear Energy; Hydropower; Infrastructure Development; Indian Law; Oil & Products Pipelines; Public Lands & Natural Resources; and Transportation.

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