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News Release

Release No. 0319.09
Contact:
Office of Communication (202) 720-4623

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OBAMA ADMINISTRATION CONTINUES NAMING STATE EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS FOR THE FARM SERVICE AGENCY

WASHINGTON, July 17, 2009 - The Obama Administration today continued naming individuals who will serve as State Executive Director for the Farm Service Agency at the USDA.

"These individuals have a solid understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing our rural communities and will help build on the Obama Administration's efforts to rebuild and revitalize rural America," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

IOWA

John Whitaker: Whitaker has been a family farmer since 1979. He has represented his community in the Iowa State Legislature as their State Representative since 2003. Whitaker served as the Assistant Minority Leader from 2005-2006 and as the Assistant Majority Leader since 2007. Prior to joining the state house, he served as the Van Buren County Supervisor from 1993-2002 and was the President of the Iowa Farmers Union from 1992-2001. Whitaker earned two bachelor degree from Iowa State University.

SOUTH DAKOTA

Craig Schaunaman: Craig Schaunaman has been farming since 1977. For the last 16 years he has worked in a farming partnership with his brother. From 1988-1998 he was elected to five consecutive terms in the South Dakota House of Representatives where he served as the House Minority Leader and House Whip. Schaunaman has served on numerous state and local boards and has been honored with the George McGovern Grassroots Award and Aberdeen Jaycees Outstanding Young Farmer Award. Schaunaman attended Northern State University.

USDA's Farm Services Agency works to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural Americans. Some of the agency's efforts include facilitating income support, disaster assistance and conservation programs, providing operating loans for the procurement of farm equipment, seed and fertilizer, as well as offering ownership loans to help new and veteran producers purchase a farm. FSA also works to procure various commodities to benefit low-income families through domestic food assistance programs.

The USDA provides leadership on food, agriculture and natural resources and touches the life of every American. Reflecting President Obama's commitment to expanding economic opportunities in rural America, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and the USDA are working to enhance availability of broadband, promote the development of renewable energy, to conserve, maintain and improve our natural resources and environment, and promote a sustainable, safe, sufficient and nutritious food supply.