Press Release March 18, 2021

Alston & Bird Adds USDA Senior Advisor Kristi Boswell as Public Policy Counsel in Washington, D.C.

Alston & Bird has expanded its legislative and public policy capabilities with the addition of counsel Kristi Boswell, a former senior advisor to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) who also served in the White House and as the director of congressional relations for one of the country’s largest agricultural trade groups. Based in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office, she will advise agricultural and food clients on complex regulatory and legislative issues. 

“Kristi has a formidable background in federal agricultural and food policy and has had a seat at the table in shaping key policy decisions for almost a decade,” said Ted Schroeder, partner in Alston & Bird’s Legislative & Public Policy Group and former chief counsel to Sen. Christopher Coons (D-DE). “Not only does Kristi understand policy interests and political considerations, but she also has the strategic horsepower to advise agricultural and food stakeholders in every corner of the industry as they navigate the federal government’s new regulatory and legislative landscape.”

As one of only a handful of senior policy officials advising former USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, Boswell helped drive many of the department’s priorities and decision-making and served as lead advisor on agricultural issues related to labor and immigration, trade promotion, domestic farm programs, crop insurance, and conservation. In this position, she was instrumental in developing long-standing agriculture labor regulatory reforms in the H-2A visa guestworker program, implementing the 2018 Farm Bill, and leading the development of COVID-19 and trade mitigation assistance under Commodity Credit Corporation authorities. Through these and other enterprise-wide USDA initiatives, she worked closely with other executive branch members – including the U.S Departments of Labor, Homeland Security, and State – and key congressional committees.

During her USDA tenure, Boswell was detailed as a policy advisor to the White House, where she served as the voice of agriculture within the administration’s immigration reform efforts. Her role included expediting H-2A regulatory reforms and created partnerships with senior officials from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador to broaden access for U.S. farmers to experienced and skilled labor forces.

Before joining the USDA in 2017, Boswell was the director of congressional relations for the American Farm Bureau Federation, where she advocated for the group’s labor, immigration, food safety, and farm safety policy positions to Congress and federal agencies and built key relationships with local, state, and national partners and agricultural businesses across the country. 

From 2009 to 2012, Boswell was a lawyer in private practice in Omaha, NE, focusing on general corporate litigation matters. 

Boswell earned her J.D. and undergraduate degrees from the University of Nebraska.

“Kristi brings an intimate knowledge about the inner workings of the executive branch and Congress in formulating farm and food policy,” said Dennis Garris, partner in charge of Alston & Bird’s Washington, D.C. office. “With policy discussions having already begun on the 2023 Farm Bill, agricultural businesses and other stakeholders will need a strong advocate of Kristi’s stature and experience to help navigate the Senate and House Agriculture Committees, USDA Office of General Counsel, Office of Management & Budget, and other key players to ensure their voices are represented in the debate.”

Boswell is the most recent addition to Alston & Bird’s Legislative & Public Policy Group. Last week, the firm also announced new senior policy team members James “JP” Paluskiewicz, former Republican chief health counsel for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Health, and Neleen Rubin, a past Democratic member of the Senate Finance Committee health policy team.
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