Keith Williams, chief spokesman for the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, for the past four years, is leaving to become press secretary for USDA, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced.

“I am very pleased that Keith Williams is joining our communications team,” Johanns said. “His long-time work as a reporter and then as a spokesperson provide a solid foundation for him to do well in this new role.”

Williams became communications director for the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee shortly after Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., assumed the chairmanship four years ago. Chambliss will become ranking minority member on the committee when Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, becomes chairman next month.

“Keith’s reputation for being responsive and courteous, combined with his knowledge of agricultural issues, will be a perfect fit as part of the team here at USDA,” said Johanns in a press statement.

Williams served in the same capacity for the House Agriculture Committee from 1998 to 2002. From 1989 to 1998, Williams served as press secretary for then Rep. Larry Combest of Texas.

Prior to moving to Washington, Williams worked for nine years as a reporter and television newscaster at KAMC TV in Lubbock. He also worked as a radio reporter and newscaster at KLLL and KSEL radio stations in Lubbock. A graduate of Texas Tech University, Williams earned a bachelor of arts in journalism.