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John Albert Knebel

John A. Knebel
19th United States Secretary of Agriculture
In office
November 4, 1976 – January 20, 1977
President Gerald R. Ford
Preceded by Earl L. Butz
Succeeded by Robert S. Bergland
Personal details
Born (1936-10-04) October 4, 1936
Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Zenia Marks Knebel
Alma mater West Point
Creighton University
American University

John Albert Knebel (born October 4, 1936) is a former United States government official who served as Secretary of Agriculture under President Gerald Ford.[1]


  • Biography 1
    • Early life and education 1.1
    • U.S. Secretary of Agriculture 1.2
  • Personal life 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Early life and education

Knebel was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma on October 4, 1936. He graduated from West Point in 1959 and received his Master's at Creighton University in 1962.[1] In 1965, he received his law degree from American University.[1] Between 1965 and 1968 he was engaged in private practice with the firm of Howrey, Simon, Baker and Murchison in Washington, DC.[1] He was a legislative assistant to Congressman J. Ernest Wharton in 1963 and 1964 and served as general counsel to the Small Business Administration during Nixon's second term.[1] He was also a member of the American, Federal, and District of Columbia Bar Association.[1] In March 1971, he became the General Counsel of the Small Business Administration, and in January 1973 he was appointed as General Counsel of the Department of Agriculture.[1] He was a partner in the law firm of Brownstein, Zeidman, Schomer and Chase from April until December 1975, when he was named the Under Secretary/Deputy Secretary of Agriculture.[1]

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture

On November 4, 1976, Knebel was named Secretary of Agriculture to by President Gerald R. Ford after his predecessor, Earl L. Butz to resigned amid a scandal involving a racist comment.[1] His period in this office was brief and ended January 20, 1977, when Jimmy Carter replaced Ford in the White House.[2] After that, he returned to law and as of 2003 was still the president of the American Mining Congress.[2]

Personal life

Knebel married Zenia Marks of New Jersey, with whom he has had three children.[1] He and his family resided in McLean, Virginia at the time on his appointment as Secretary of Agriculture in 1976.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Biographies of Cabinet Department Secretaries during the Gerald R. Ford Presidency, 1974-1977: A-K" (PDF). The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Digital Library.  
  2. ^ a b "Former Secretaries".  

External links

  • Profiles of former Secretaries of Agriculture
  • American President site
Political offices
Preceded by
Earl Butz
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture
Served under: Gerald Ford

Succeeded by
Robert Bergland
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