20 January 2022, Washington: Today, President Joe Biden announced his intent to appoint seven U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regional positions, including five Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Directors and two Rural Development (RD) State Directors.
“A year into this administration, we continue to build an experienced team in our state offices,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “I have full confidence these individuals will work tirelessly to advance USDA’s mission in their local communities.”
FSA State Executive Directors oversee Farm Service Agency operations and agricultural policy implementation in the state. Each State Executive Director works with the State Committee to administer FSA programs and County office operations, develops and maintains stakeholder relationships with customers and other agencies and governments.
RD State Directors serve as the chief executive officer of Rural Development in the states and territories and are tasked with carrying out the mission of Rural Development to the benefit of everyone in rural America. In conjunction with the guidance and support of the National Office, State Directors are responsible for promoting the mission and strategic goals of Rural Development and provide key leadership to develop and support a productive, diverse, and inclusive state workforce.
Farm Service Agency:
Daniel Smiarowski has been appointed FSA State Executive Director for Massachusetts
Daniel Smiarowski has worked with the USDA Farmers Home Administration and Farm Service Agency since 1986. He began as a Student Trainee and worked up to be an Assistant County Supervisor, a Farm Loan Specialist and a District Director for the Massachusetts FSA. A third-generation farmer, Smiarowski owns and operated a 175-acre farm located in Montague and Sunderland, MA. He currently produces asparagus, butternut squash and pumpkins. Smiarowski graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a degree in Agricultural Economics in 1988.
C. John Sullivan III has been appointed FSA State Executive Director for Maryland
C. John Sullivan III previously served as the Program Manager for the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) overseeing the Animal Feeding Operations (AFO), Biosolids, Waste Diversion, and Hazardous Waste Permits divisions. Prior to this role, he served as the Deputy Chief of Staff and Agricultural Liaison to the Harford County Executive for the agricultural industry. In the 1990’s, Sullivan served as an Agriculture and Natural Resource Fellow for the US EPA Chesapeake Bay Program in Annapolis, MD and the National Civilian Community Corps in Washington, D.C. A current board member, he previously served as President of the Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation (MAEF) and the Maryland Agricultural Council.
John Roberts has been appointed FSA State Executive Director for Vermont
John Roberts immigrated to Vermont from Great Britain after completing his college education with a BS degree in Farm Management, to Vermont in 1974. He managed Shelburne Farms in Shelburne, Vermont until 1977 and then began a dairy farm of his own, which he and his family managed until 2012. Roberts then worked for over six years at the Vermont Agency of Agriculture as a water quality specialist and as the Executive Director of the Coalition, which he joined in 2020. He has served as a Select Board member and on the Vermont Water Resources Board, the Vermont Housing Conservation Board, the Board of the Vermont Land Trust, and as Chair of the Vermont USDA FSA Committee. Roberts also served in several state and national committee positions for the National Beef Board and the Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative.
Steve Kouplen has been appointed FSA State Executive Director for Oklahoma
Born and raised on a family farm and ranch in Oklahoma, Steve Kouplen graduated from Oklahoma State University with a B.S. and M.S. in Agricultural Education. While operating a commercial cattle ranch and farm, he served as President of the Okmulgee County Farm Bureau and Oklahoma Farm Bureau and Chairman of the Oklahoma Beef Council. Kouplen also served as a member of the board of directors for the East Central Electric Cooperative, the Beggs School District, his local FSA Committee, and the Okmulgee County Rural Water District #6. In 2009, he was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives and served as Minority Leader from 2017 to 2018.
John Litz has been appointed FSA State Executive Director for Tennessee
John Litz is a second-generation farmer operating a farm near Morristown, Tennessee. His farming operation includes 3,000 acres of corn, soybeans, wheat, turf grass and a vineyard. After graduating from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Litz managed animal health and assisted with row crop management at a 2500+ head feed lot operation. He has been involved in organizations such as UT Agriculture Regional Advisory Committee, BPOE (Elks Lodge), and numerous Farm Bureau committees locally and statewide. Litz also served four terms in the State House of Representatives for Hamblen County where he served on the Agriculture Committee, State & Local Government Committee, Election Subcommittee, and was an officer as a freshman on the Calendar and Rules Committee.
Jonathan McCracken has been appointed RD State Director in Ohio
Most recently, Jonathan McCracken served as a Senior Advisor to U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH). For the past 15 years, he has held various legislative positions related to agriculture, rural development, food, nutrition, energy, and environmental policy. Prior to working for Senator Brown, McCracken began his career working for Senator Edward M. Kennedy. A native of Wilmington, Ohio, he is a graduate of Wake Forest University and earned a J.D. from the George Washington University Law School.
Margaret Hoffmann has been appointed RD State Director in Oregon
Margaret Hoffmann spent the last five years as the Strategic Operations Manager for the Farmers Conservation Alliance, where she helped over 50% of farmers with irrigated agriculture modernize their systems to increase economic resilience and environmental benefits. Prior to this, Hoffmann served as the Energy Policy Advisor to Governors Kate Brown and John Kitzhaber. In this role, she coordinated with a broad array of stakeholders to facilitate the state’s transition to an economically resilient, lower-carbon future.