Miller Center

American President

A Reference Resource

Charles F. Brannan (1948–1953): Secretary of Agriculture

Charles Franklin Brannan was born in 1903 in Denver, Colorado. He earned a law degree from the University of Denver in 1929, the same year he was admitted to the Colorado bar.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt made Brannan assistant regional counsel for the Resettlement Administration in 1935, a New Deal program under the auspices of the Department of Agriculture. Two years later, Brannan was serving as the Department of Agriculture’s regional attorney in the Office of Solicitor; by 1941, he was the regional director of the Farm Security Administration (FSA) for Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming.

Brannan served for a short time as assistant administrator of the FSA, until President Roosevelt tapped him to become his assistant secretary of agriculture, a post Brannan retained under President Harry Truman. In 1948, however, Truman nominated him to become his secretary of agriculture, a position Brannan held throughout Truman’s second administration.

After leaving office in 1953, Brannan continued to practice law, serving for a time as general counsel for the National Farmers Union. In 1962, he helped evaluate the effectiveness of farm programs for the Department of Agriculture. Charles Franklin Brannan died in 1992.