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Perdue Announces Farm Service Agency and Rural Development State Directors

Perdue Announces Farm Service Agency and Rural Development State Directors

(Washington, D.C. November 3, 2017) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced a slate of Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Rural Development (RD) State Directors, all serving as appointees of President Donald J. Trump.  FSA State Directors help implement U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) policies in planning, organizing, and administering FSA programs in their respective states. They are also responsible for running the day-to-day activities of the state FSA office.  Similarly, RD State Directors work to help improve the economy and quality of life in rural America.

“These state directors will help ensure that USDA is offering the best customer service to our farmers, ranchers, foresters, and agricultural producers across the country,” Secretary Perdue said. “FSA and RD both play a critical role in helping the people of agriculture, and are able to connect with people in their home states.  They are the initial points of contact for millions of our USDA customers.  Our goal is to help rural America prosper, and these state leaders will be of great assistance in that task.”

The following is a list of State Directors Perdue released today:

FSA State Directors:

Alabama: David McCurdy

David McCurdy began his career with USDA in 1987 and has served in various roles throughout the Farm Service Agency.  A third generation farmer, David raises cattle, farms soy beans and corn, and also maintains a small timber operation.

Alaska: Bryan Scoresby

Bryan Scoresby began his career with the USDA in 1987 and came to Alaska in 1992 to serve the industry as District Director of the Farm Service Agency.

Arkansas: David Curtis

David Curtis has worked the past 34 years for Farm Service Agency, serving as the County Director with loan approval authority in North Central Arkansas. 

California: Aubrey Bettencourt

Aubrey Bettencourt is a third-generation California farmer, who not only brings to the USDA her farming experience but has also served as the Executive Director of the California Water Alliance while helping farmers meet for a clean, reliable water supply.

Colorado: Clarice Navarro

Clarice Navarro was elected to the Colorado State House of Representatives in 2012 and has been a strong advocate for the agricultural community during her time as a legislator.  

Connecticut: Clark Chapin

Clark Chapin earned the respect of the agriculture community through his 16 years as a state legislator before becoming Project Director for Working Lands Alliance, a project of American Farmland Trust.

Florida: Neil Combee

Neil Combee currently serves in the Florida House of Representatives and previously served on the Board of Southwest Florida Water Management District and was a Polk County Commissioner.

Georgia: Tas Smith

Tas Smith has been employed at the Georgia Farm Bureau Federation since 2005, with a focus on working with farmers across Georgia to positively shape federal farm policy. 

Hawaii: Allen Frenzel

Allen (Al) Frenzel is a logistics management professional who previously worked for Defense Logistics Agency on the United States Pacific Command staff after retiring as an Army Colonel with 27 years of active service.

Idaho: Evan Frasure

Evan S. Frasure, Jr. currently serves as a commissioner for Bannock County, Idaho and has an extensive background in business.

Illinois: William J. Graff

William Graff is a former State Executive Director of the Illinois Farm Service Agency.

Indiana: Steve Brown

Steve Brown is a former USDA employee with 32 years of experience in Porter County, Carroll County, and the Indiana State Farm Service Agency Office, in addition to 30 years of working on his family farm.

Iowa: Amanda De Jong

Amanda De Jong most recently held the position of Senior Policy Advisor at the Iowa Corn Growers Association and she has also served in prior roles with U.S. Senator Charles Grassley and the USDA.

Kansas: David Schemm

David Schemm has served as President of the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers and President of National Association of Wheat Growers.

Kentucky: Brian Lacefield

Brian Lacefield served most recently as the Market President of FNB Bank and currently serves as a board member for the Kentucky Corn Growers, Kentucky FFA Foundation, and the Kentucky Ag Leadership Program.

Louisiana: Craig McCain

Craig McCain is a career FSA employee with over 30 years of service to Louisiana agriculture, serving on numerous task forces responsible for writing FSA policy and developing software applications.

Maine: Dave Lavway

Dave Lavway served in Deputy Commissioner positions with the State of Maine for the Departments of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry and Administrative and Financial Services, all in addition to his work with the Maine Potato Board, National Potato Council, and Maine Farm Service Agency.

Maryland: Jim Eichhorst

Jim Eichhorst was an appointee at USDA under the George W. Bush Administration and currently serves as Deputy Secretary for the Maryland Department of Agriculture.

Michigan: Joel Johnson

Joel Johnson served in the Michigan House of Representatives in 2010 where he advocated for the agricultural producers of Michigan.

Minnesota: Joe Martin

Joe Martin has served the Minnesota and American Farm Bureau Federations and also as the Assistant Commissioner at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.  He lives in LeSueur County where he and his wife Staci run a small cattle operation.

Mississippi: Bobby Carson

Bobby Carson has worked with the National Cotton Council and served as President and Chairman of Cotton Incorporated and the Cotton Foundation, before also serving on the Mississippi FSA State Committee from 2003 thru 2008.

Missouri: Richard Fordyce

Richard Fordyce has served as the Missouri Director of Agriculture, and also on the United Soybean Board and Missouri’s Soil & Water Districts Commission.

Nebraska: Nancy Johner

Nancy Johner comes to the USDA with over 25 years of senior executive leadership in county, state and federal government as well as the private sector.

Nevada – Janice Kolvet

Janice Kolvet started her career for the USDA over twenty years ago in positions both in Nevada and in Washington, DC at the Farm Service Agency and returns from Washington to serving the farmers and ranchers of Nevada. 

New Hampshire: Jeffrey Holmes

Jeff Holmes is a fifth generation dairy farmer and brings 32 years of farm experience to serve the USDA, along with the experience of having served as the President of the New Hampshire Farm Bureau.

New Jersey: Barry Calogero

Barry Calogero brings over 30 years’ finance experience across various domestic and international operations.

New York: Clark Putman

Clark Putman brings over 20 years’ experience as a dairy farmer along with 29 years of experience serving as a career civil servant with the Farm Service Agency.

North Carolina: Len McBride

Len McBride began his career with the Farm Service Agency 32 years ago and prior to his appointment he served as a District Director for the FSA based in Statesville, NC.

North Dakota: Brad Thykeson

Brad Thykeson has been an owner and operator of a farming operation in Barnes and Steele County for 33 years, is the owner of a commercial trucking business, and serves on both the National Wheat Growers Board and the American Farm Bureau Wheat Advisory Committee.

Ohio: Leonard Hubert

Leonard Hubert served as the Director of External Affairs & Economic Opportunity in Ohio Governor John Kasich’s Office and also as the Chairman of the Ohio Civil Rights Commission. 

Oklahoma: Scott Biggs

Scott Biggs is currently a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives and is well known in the Oklahoma agricultural community for his work to enhance agriculture in the state. 

Oregon: Peggy Browne

Peggy Browne comes to the USDA from rural eastern Oregon and brings experience from the agriculture and ecology consulting industry for the last 16 years in the Pacific Northwest and a wealth of knowledge as a USDA program user, program consultant, small business owner, and ecologist.

Pennsylvania: Gary Groves

Gary Groves returns to the USDA having previously served as the State Director for Rural Development in Pennsylvania.  He is a graduate of Purdue University School of Agriculture, lives on a farm in Wyoming County and raises Belgian Draft Horses.

South Carolina: Boone Peeler

Boone Peeler is the Vice President of Harvey Peeler’s Farm, Inc., has been a member of Gaffney, SC city council since 2006, and has worked at the South Carolina Health and Human Services Department.

South Dakota: Paul Shubeck

Paul Shubeck has dedicated his life to agriculture, was instrumental in generating the Wetland CRP Pilot Program in South Dakota and currently hosts an agricultural radio program for the South Dakota Farm Bureau.

Tennessee: Dennis Beavers

Dennis Beavers brings business experience in the insurance industry, and experience serving on various boards and commissions in both Tennessee and Alabama to serve the USDA and the farmers of Tennessee.

Texas: Gary Six

Gary Six has been employed by USDA for the past 40 years, while also serving the last 32 years as County Executive Director of Yoakum County.

Utah: Bruce Richeson

Bruce Richeson returns to service at the USDA having previously served as the Utah FSA State Executive Director from 2006 to 2009. 

Vermont: Wendy Wilton

Wendy Wilton has served the City of Rutland, VT as Treasurer, Tax Collector, and Pension Administrator for the past 10 years and also served on the Education, Judiciary and Agriculture standing committee in the Vermont General Assembly.

Virginia: Nivin Elgohary

Nivin Elgohary has served Rural America since she arrived in 1999 at USDA’s Rural Utilities Service and most recently she served as Senior Vice President – Electric, Water, and Community Facilities at CoBank, a national cooperative bank serving America’s rural infrastructure needs.

Washington: Brian Dansel

Brian Dansel served as a Ferry County Commissioner before being elected to the Washington State Senate in 2013 where he was Vice Chair of both the Senate Natural Resources Committee and the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Wisconsin: Sandra Chalmers

Sandra Chalmers most recently served as Assistant Deputy Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection after serving as Executive Officer of the Wisconsin Farm Service Agency.

Wyoming: Lois Van Mark

Lois Van Mark is a dry land wheat farmer and operates her family’s farm in Goshen County, Wyoming. 

 

Rural Development State Directors:

Alabama: Chris Beeker

Chris Beeker grew up on a catfish and cattle farm in the smallest county of his state and through extensive experience of working on the family farm and other business ventures has firsthand knowledge of the positive and important impacts of USDA programs for all communities and especially rural America. 

Alaska: Jerry Ward

Jerry Ward is an Athabascan Indian from the Caribou Tribe, born and raised in Alaska, and has a record of public service, including in the U.S. Navy Seabees in Vietnam, as Rural Affairs Coordinator with the Department of Corrections, as Legislative Liaison for the Alaska Energy Authority.  He has also served as a member of the State House of Representative, with a seat on the Finance Committee, and in the State Senate as Vice Chairman of the Finance Committee addressing rural Alaska issues. 

Arizona: J.C. Sherman III

J.C. Sherman comes to USDA with vast experience from the Departments of Energy and Commerce, in addition to private sector experience from Executive Protection, Director of Sales Operations for a division of Schneider Electric and Business Development Director with other fortune 50 companies.

Arkansas: David Branscum

David Branscum is serving his fourth term in the Arkansas House of Representatives and is a cattleman who has been active with several civic organizations serving to empower rural Arkansas.

California: Kim Dolbow Vann

Kim Vann has been working and serving in California’s Rural Communities for nearly 20 years and her career gives her an excellent understanding of California’s’ Rural Communities needs and the experience to solve problems. 

Colorado: Sallie Clark

Sallie Clark is a former El Paso County, Colorado commissioner, city councilmember, well known small-business entrepreneur, and past President of the National Association of Counties (NACo).  She has spent much of her career representing rural America.

Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island: George Krivda

George Krivda has worked at the state Department of Agriculture for nearly ten years serving as a Project Manager, Public Information Officer, Legislative Program Manager and Chief of Staff. 

Delaware and Maryland: Denise Lovelady

Denise Lovelady brings over 20 years of executive and management experience in both the public and private sectors to USDA, specifically in the areas of government, legislative affairs, public relations, economic development, agriculture, natural resources, real estate, and community outreach.

Florida: Sydney Gruters

Sydney Gruters has worked for U.S. Representative Vern Buchanan for more than 10 years in an official capacity and has served as the congressman’s liaison regarding all USDA issues that affect rural development.

Georgia: Joyce White

Joyce White served as Chief of Staff in the Georgia Department of Agriculture, was an executive assistant for the CEO of Georgia-Pacific, served the same role in Governor Sonny Perdue’s office, and has focused on helping rural Georgia.

Hawaii: Gigi Jones

Gigi Jones founded a grassroots organization known as Cool Our Keiki and has worked in construction, small business, engineering and business development for over 20 years. She knows first-hand the challenges of living in remote and rural areas as she has lived, worked and volunteered in rural areas inside and outside of the U.S. for many years.

Idaho: Layne Bangerter

Layne Bangerter comes to RD directly from his role at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  He previously held varied roles in the Fish and Wildlife Service and served as State Director for Senator Mike Crapo.  

Illinois: Douglas Wilson

Douglas Wilson is a 3rd generation farmer, lifelong resident of rural Illinois, and past Illinois State Director for RD.  He has served in leadership roles in a variety of agricultural, community, and not-for-profit organizations.

Indiana: Michael Reed Dora

As a first generation agricultural producer of livestock and grains since 1975, Michael Dora brings to the Trump Administration a deep knowledge of farming and business skills along with wide-ranging experiences of dedicated service and leadership to his state and community.

Iowa: Annette Sweeney

Annette Sweeney brings local and international experience to Rural Development, having served as a teacher, family farmer, church volunteer, and most recently as a member of the Iowa House of Representatives. 

Kansas: Lynne Hinrichsen

Lynne Hinrichsen joined the Kansas Department of Agriculture in 2013 as the Agribusiness Development Director. Prior to serving in the public sector, she worked in sales, marketing, advertising and human resource consulting.

Kentucky: Hilda Legg

Hilda Legg brings more than 30 years of experience in federal government agency management, as a consultant for rural infrastructure, in economic development in rural Appalachia, in education, project management, and as a business owner.  She has served under three U.S. presidents to further opportunities for rural communities and residents in job creation and economic growth.

Louisiana: Dr. Carrie Castille

Dr. Carrie Castille served as the Associate Commissioner for the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, held a faculty position with the Louisiana State University AgCenter, and created the successful Louisiana Master Farmer Program.

Maine: Tim Hobbs

Tim Hobbs brings over fifteen years of experience working with and for potato growers, processors, and dealers in Maine on issues that affect their competitiveness and profitability. 

Michigan: Jason Allen

Jason Allen is a small businessman, veteran, and former State Senator, who currently works on rural development for the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. 

Minnesota: Brad Finstad

Brad Finstad served three terms in the Minnesota House of Representatives and is currently the CEO of the Center for Rural Policy and Development, which is Minnesota’s only statewide, nonprofit, nonpartisan rural policy research center.

Mississippi: John Rounsaville

John Rounsaville served as State Director for USDA Rural Development in the Administration of President George W. Bush and brings to the Trump Administration two decades of experience in economic and community development, infrastructure planning, and public policy.

Missouri: Jeff Case

Jeff Case is Vice President and Senior Relationship Manager at Rabo AgriFinance, LLC and has spent his career working in the agriculture industry in the areas of Production, Finance and Education.

Montana: Charles Robison

Charles first joined USDA as a Forest Service firefighter in 1998, working on an engine crew, as a Hotshot and as a helitack rappeller. He looks forward to pursuing his passion for the struggles of rural Montana and the working families who call it home.

Nebraska: Karl Elmshaeuser

Karl Elmshaeuser has served as the Executive Director for the West Central Nebraska Development District for the past 11 years, served two terms on the Nebraska Rural Development Commission, currently serves on the Nebraska Regional Officials Council and the National Association of Development Organizations, served six years in the US Marine Corps, and is a University of Nebraska graduate.

Nevada: Philip Cowee

Philip Cowee has spent nearly 20 years developing properties and running businesses in Lyon County, lives in Dayton with his wife and five children, and is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno.

New Hampshire and Vermont: Anthony Lindaros

Army Reserve Veteran Anthony Lindaros brings over 18 years of business development experience and executive management in the pharmaceutical industry.

North Carolina: Bob Chandler

Bob dedicated his career to agriculture from starting his first internship with USDA in 1974, serving for 35 years, and retiring in 2009. Since 2009, Bob has been Consulting for a Faith based Nonprofit and holding USDA Mediations for the North Carolina Agricultural Mediation Program and Farm Agricultural Resources and Mediation in Virginia.

North Dakota: Clare Carlson

Clare Carlson has served nearly eight years as the State Director of USDA Rural Development and was previously a member of the North Dakota House of Representatives.

Ohio: Dave Hall

Dave Hall's experience in agriculture began in the late 1960's when he started working on his grandparents' farm and has since served as a Commissioner for the Ohio Exposition Commission for the Ohio State Fair and Chairman of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee in the Ohio House of Representatives.

Oklahoma: Lee Denney

Lee Denney practiced mixed animal practice for 35 years and has served as a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives and on the Cushing City Commission.

Oregon: John Huffman

John Huffman has spent the past 10 years as an Oregon State Representative and prior to his legislative work, he owned and managed a successful radio station for 22 years in North Central Oregon. 

Pennsylvania: Curt Coccodrilli

Curt Coccodrilli has been integrally involved in numerous efforts to address the needs of rural Pennsylvania, promoting rural economic development and leading campaigns to ensure state and federal regulations recognize the need for such development.

South Carolina: Debbie S. Turbeville

Debbie Turbeville is being promoted to the position of State Director after spending her entire career serving in almost every role at the state level of the agency, having risen in the ranks from the GS-2 level when she started in 1982.

South Dakota: Julie Gross

Julie Gross is currently the Economic Development Director for the Lake Area Improvement Corporation in Madison.  She understands and appreciates the needs of rural communities and is looking forward to helping them become stronger and more vibrant with the programs USDA offers.

Tennessee: Jim Tracy

Jim Tracy ran a small business in a rural middle Tennessee community for 24 years before being elected to the State Senate in 2004 as an advocate for agriculture issues in the state.

Texas: Edd Hargett

Edd Hargett began working for Electric Cooperatives in 1974 and has served as general manager of both distribution and G&T systems.

Utah: Randy Parker

Randy Parker comes to the USDA having served as chief executive officer of the Utah Farm Bureau Federation for most of the past 14 years.

Vermont and New Hampshire: Anthony Lindaros

Army Reserve Veteran Anthony Lindaros brings over 18 years of business development experience and executive management in the pharmaceutical industry.

Virginia: Elizabeth Walker Green

Elizabeth has been working in Federal and State politics for over thirty years. 

Washington: Kirk Pearson

Kirk Pearson has served in the Washington State Legislature for 17 years, serving on the Senate Agriculture, Water, Trade, and Economic Development Committee and as Chairman of the Senate Natural Resources and Parks Committee.  He has promoted legislation to help rural communities grow and thrive in the state of Washington.

West Virginia: Kris Warner

Kris Warner has more than 25 years of leadership in West Virginia business development and is also a charter member of Leadership Monongalia and a graduate of Leadership West Virginia, which is designed to educate and sustain community leaders.

Wisconsin: Frank Frassetto

Frank Frassetto has 30 years of public sector experience, previously served as state director at USDA RD from 2001 to 2009, was the Administrator for Trade and Consumer Protection at the WI Dept. of Agriculture, and resides in the rural town of Black Wolf and has been its Chairman since 1997.

Wyoming: Chad Rupe

Chad Rupe has served previously with USDA, as an officer in the U.S. Army, and as a community banker in Wyoming for 11 years.

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