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USDA APPOINTS 20 MEMBERS TO BEGINNING FARMERS AND RANCHERS ADVISORY COMMITTEE
WASHINGTON, Dec. 4, 2007 – Acting Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner today appointed 20 members to serve on the Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers. Seven of the appointments are new; the other 13 are reappointments. This committee identifies ways to increase participation between federal and state programs to provide joint financing for beginning producers. Committee members also suggest agricultural opportunities that will help beginning farmers and ranchers.
"I was pleased to meet with committee members in July, and I appreciate their work to strengthen support of beginning farmers and ranchers," said Conner. "As the Administration's proposals for the 2007 Farm Bill demonstrate, helping beginning farmers and ranchers is a priority. I look forward to working together with this diverse, skilled team to build a strong future for our next generation of farmers and ranchers."
The Agricultural Credit Improvement Act of 1992 required the formation of the committee. Members serve for a two-year term, and can be reappointed for up to six consecutive years. The committee meets at least once a year and the meetings are open to the public.
The seven new members to the committee are:
- Juan Carlos Hernandez of Miami, Fla.: Hernandez is a loan officer for Farm Credit of South Florida.
- Travis Jett of Laverne, Okla.: Jett is a beginning rancher and a senior at Oklahoma State University.
- Karen Kritz of Pemberton, N.J.: Kritz is involved in agricultural economic development at the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.
- Ryan Luter of Morrison, Okla.: Luter is a farmer and an Assistant Vice President at BancFirst Corp. in Oklahoma.
- Katherine Minthorn Good Luck of Pendleton, Ore.: Good Luck is the northwest regional representative of the Intertribal Agriculture Council and has a farming operation.
- Amarjit Sohal of Yuba City, Calif.: Sohal is an assistant vice president at Sacramento Valley Farm Credit in California.
- William Zachary Penn of Deming, N.M.: Penn is a partner in Penn Farms.
The 13 reappointments are:
- Marian Beethe of Tecumseh, Neb.: Beethe heads a beginning farmer program for the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.
- Traci Bruckner of Wayne, Neb.: Bruckner assists in directing policy at the Center for Rural Affairs and also has a cow-calf operation.
- Richard Cates Jr. of Spring Green, Wis.: Cates directs a school for beginning farmers at the University of Wisconsin and has a cattle operation.
- Ray Ellenberger of Belleville, Wis.: Ellenberger is USDA Farm Service Agency's (FSA) farm loan chief in Wisconsin.
- Timothy Harlow of Mylo, N.D.: Harlow is an outreach liaison for the National Tribal Development Association, which promotes economic opportunities for American Indians. He also operates a fruit and vegetable farm.
- Latrice Hill of Ridgeland, Miss.: Hill is an FSA outreach specialist in Mississippi.
- Janie Hipp of Washington, D.C.: Hipp is a National Program Leader for USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service in Washington, D.C.
- Lisa Koester of Wadesville, Ind.: Koester is part owner of Koester Brothers Farms, Inc.
- Trenton McKnight of Throckmorton, Texas: McKnight is a rancher and director of several banks in Texas. He served as vice-chairman of the Secretary's Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers from 2006 through 2007
- Ray Mobley of Tallahassee, Fla.: Mobley is an extension veterinarian at Florida A&M University and operates a small farm.
- Maria Moreira of Lancaster, Mass.: Moreira is the project director of Flats Mentor Farm and the immigrant farming project in Massachusetts. She also owns a dairy farm.
- Mary Peabody of Burlington, Vt.: Peabody is an associate professor at the University of Vermont and director of the Women's Agricultural Network
- Jeffrey Ward of Windsor Heights, Iowa: Ward is executive director of the Iowa Agricultural Development Authority and chairman of the National Council of State Agricultural Finance Programs.
All members have experience in agriculture. The law requires committee members to include representatives from the following groups: state beginning farmer programs; educational institutions; lending institutions; nonprofit organizations; USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA); USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service; and other entities providing assistance to beginning farmers and ranchers. USDA also appoints farmers and ranchers to serve on the committee.