John Albert Knebel

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John Knebel
John Albert Knebel - USDA portrait.png
19th United States Secretary of Agriculture
In office
November 4, 1976 – January 20, 1977
PresidentGerald Ford
Preceded byEarl Butz
Succeeded byRobert Bergland
Personal details
Born (1936-10-04) October 4, 1936 (age 85)
Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Zenia Marks
EducationUnited States Military Academy (BS)
Creighton University (MA)
American University (LLB)

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]


Early life and education[edit]

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[edit]

On November 4, 1976, Knebel was named Secretary of Agriculture to by President Gerald R. Ford after his predecessor, Earl L. Butz 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[edit]

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. Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Former Secretaries". United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 22 March 2013.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture
Served under: Gerald Ford

Succeeded by