On Thursday, the United States Senate confirmed Missouri Farm Bureau member R.D. James, of New Madrid, to serve as the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works (ASA-CW). In this role, James will be the civilian in charge of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

James has been a member of Missouri Farm Bureau for over 35 years. He and his family are agricultural leaders in New Madrid County and across the Bootheel, having farmed for several generations and operated cotton gins and grain elevators for decades. James earned his degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Kentucky and has served for over 36 years as one of the three civil Presidential appointees to the Mississippi River Commission, having first been appointed by President Reagan in 1981.

Following his confirmation by a vote of 89-1, Missouri Farm Bureau President Blake Hurst said, “It is an incredible honor to have one of our members lead the Corps of Engineers. Missouri farmers work with the Corps every day all over our state, and their decisions have an enormous impact on our farms, our homes and our daily lives. The importance of having someone leading the Corps who intimately understands Missouri agriculture cannot be overstated.”

Missouri Farm Bureau works continuously with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on flood control, river management, wetlands and drainage issues. The lifelong farming, business and engineering background James will bring to the job, combined with his intimate knowledge of Missouri-specific issues, will be invaluable for Missouri farmers. James will be the 12th person to serve in this role, which was created in the 1970 Flood Control Act.