On January 22, Ed Kee was confirmed by the Delaware Senate and sworn-in as Delaware’s Secretary of Agriculture. Ed Kee is a native Delawarean who was born in New Castle and now lives in Sussex County. He has spent his entire career in Delaware Agriculture.
Kee began his professional agricultural career as the farm manager at Nassau Orchards in Lewes, Delaware. Ed Kee was appointed the Kent County Agricultural Agent for the University of Delaware in 1978, and moved to State Vegetable Crops Specialist, working out of Georgetown. In 2004, Kee was appointed as the Extension Agricultural Program Leader. He served as the Vegetable Crop Specialist and the Ag Program Leader. Kee retired from the University in 2008 and worked for Hanover Foods Corporation as Director of Agriculture.
Kee is a nationally and internationally recognized expert on vegetable science. He has authored or co-authored more than 30 articles in peer-reviewed scholarly journals. These include articles published in the fields of horticulture, vegetable science, agricultural engineering, agricultural economics, history and civil rights. Kee has published or lectured on agricultural or historical topics across the United States and in Mexico, Germany, Hungary, Canada, and the Ukraine. He is the author of Saving Our Harvest: The History of the Mid-Atlantic Canning and Freezing Industry. Kee has also written numerous articles for the commercial agricultural press, including a monthly column for The Delmarva Farmer.
In 1996, Kee received the George M. Worrilow Award for Outstanding Service to Agriculture by a University of Delaware College of Agriculture graduate. In 2005, he received the University of Delaware’s Ratledge Award for Outstanding Public Service … the highest award the university gives for public service. In January 2008, Kee received the Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service to Agriculture from then Secretary of Agriculture, Michael Scuse. The award was given in recognition of Ed Kee’s 30 plus years of meritorious service to Delaware agriculture.
Ed Kee led the campaign to build a new library in Milford, Delaware. This $3 million project was completed in 1993. He has served on the Milford Library Trustees and the Governor’s Advisory Committee for Libraries. Kee was elected to the Milford Board of Education from 1995 to 2000, and currently serves on the Delaware Interscholastic Athletics Association Board of Directors. He serves on the Delaware Banking Commission and the Delaware Heritage Commission. He is the President of the Delaware Agricultural Museum Campaign to “Reinvent the Museum.”
Kee is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of The Felton Bank, and sits on the board of the bank’s holding company, Shorebancshares, Inc., of Easton, Maryland. He served as the secretary-treasurer of the University of Delaware Agricultural Alumni Association for 20 years. Ed and his wife Debbie established a scholarship to send graduates of Delaware High Schools majoring in agriculture to the University of Delaware.
He graduated from William Penn High School in 1969, the University of Delaware with a B.S. and Master’s in Agriculture in 1973 and 1975, respectively. In 1996, he completed the requirements for a Master of Arts-Liberal Studies at the University of Delaware. His thesis project was the 1954 School Integration Crisis in Milford. This work was published in Delaware History, the publication of The Historical Society of Delaware.
Kee, a sixth generation Delawarean, lives on a farm near Lincoln City with his wife Debbie. Debbie and Ed have been married for 32 years. They have two grown daughters, who live in Michigan and Pennsylvania.