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News Release

Release No. 0401.09
USDA Office of Communication 202-720-4623

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WASHINGTON, August 25, 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.


Linda Newkirk – Newkirk has 31 years of continuous service and since 1991 has been an Agricultural Program Specialist, assigned to the State Executive Director for the Farm Service Agency. She has worked in all divisions for the FSA: administrative, price support, conservation and in the State Director's office. She has also been the Federal Woman's Program Manager. Newkirk was born and raised in Arkansas and has been involved in farming communities her entire life. She is married to Ray Camp of Little Rock, Ark.


Willie Cooper – Willie Cooper has served as the State Executive Director for the Farm Service Agency/Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service since 1972. In all, he has served over 50 years in numerous capacities with the USDA in the state of Louisiana. He has worked on Katrina relief, and has won numerous awards in his capacity as a USDA employee. Cooper is a Veteran of U.S. Army and graduated from Southeastern Louisiana University with a degree in Agriculture.


Donovan E. Todd – Todd is founder and president of D.E. Todd, Inc., where he is a buyer and consultant for potato procurement. He served on the Maine Potato Board for 6 years, including 2 years as President. Todd also spent 10 years as a broker for Cape Cod Potato Chips and 14 years in various roles in the Maine USDA Farm Service Agency. He served has as a Charleston, Maine. Selectman for 3 years and on the Charleston School Board for 4 years.


Paul Hlubik – Hlubik has worked for the State Farm Service Agency since 1987, and has served as state executive director since 2001. He has also owned and operated Backacres Farms since 1981. Hlubik serves as a trustee for the New Jersey Agriculture Society, which oversees the New Jersey Farmers Against Hunger, Agriculture in the Classroom, and the New Jersey Agricultural Leadership Development Program. He was also a previous member of the New Jersey Soybean board, past president of the Burlington County Board of Agriculture, and as well past president of New Jersey Association of County Office FSA Employees.


Salomon Ramirez – Ramirez has been the director of the Production, Emergencies, and Compliance Division of the Farm Service Agency since 2007. Previously, he served in various roles in the Farm Service Agency from 1978 to 2006. Ramirez has 34 years of service with USDA, and has been the recipient of 2 Administrator Awards from the Farm Service Agency. He received his bachelor's of science in Agriculture from New Mexico State University. Ramirez has worked with New Mexico Farm Service Agency for 21 years from 1985-2006.


Steven Maurer – Maurer is currently the Chief of the Division of Natural Areas and Preserves, Ohio Department of Natural Resources - a position he has held since 2007. The Division of Natural Areas and Preserves protects a system of 133 State Nature Preserves, administers the Ohio Scenic River Program, and maintains a database of threatened and endangered species. He previously served as State Executive Director for USDA Farm Service Agency in Ohio, from 1993 - 2001. Prior to that, Mauer was the Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture from 1986 - 1991.


Lynn Voigt – Voigt has served for over 40 years in the Farm Service Agency and its predecessor the Farmers Home Administration. He currently serves as the Oregon Farm Service Agency Loan Chief. He received the Secretary of Agriculture's "Secretary's Honor Award" for helping develop a mentoring and leadership program for FSA Farm Loan Chiefs, and received the President's "Service Award" for more than 5,000 hours of volunteer service to the USAgencies federal employee based credit union. Voigt has been married to Sue Voigt for 39 years. Their son John and his wife Libby have a newborn son named Jayden.

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.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272(voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).