After the 1983 West German federal election, chancellor Helmut Kohl appointed him to 'Minister of Food, Agriculture, and Forestry' (Second Kohl cabinet). After the 1987 election, he had the same position in the Third Kohl cabinet and then, after the German reunification, in the Fourth Kohl cabinet. In January 1993, he left the cabinet because of poor health; Jochen Borchert (CDU) became his successor.
Kiechle and his wife Cäcilia had four children. Their son Thomas (* 1967) became mayor of Kempten in 2014.
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