20 May 2022, US: Today, President Joe Biden announced his intent to appoint two U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regional positions, including one Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director and one Rural Development (RD) State Director.
“I am thrilled we continue to add state directors to be the face of USDA programs in rural and farm communities,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to building a better America, and these state directors are critical to accomplishing that.”
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:
Joy Kono has been appointed FSA State Executive Director for Hawaii
Joy Kono joins FSA with over 30 years of managerial and administrative experience in support programs, along with a first-hand understanding of the challenging and diverse agricultural industry of Hawaii. She comes from a rural community on the island of Kauai and was born into a family that farmed a variety of vegetables and livestock. Kono spent 18 years with BEI Hawaii, where she held positions from analyst to branch manager. For the last 20 years, she has worked for Kamehameha Schools where she served as Senior Director. Kono earned a Bachelor’s in agriculture economics from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and then obtained a Master’s degree in agribusiness from Santa Clara University.
Maria Herrera has been appointed Rural Development State Director for California
Maria Gallegos Herrera is a proud daughter of farmworker parents, who grew up in the rural agricultural communities in the heart of California’s San Joaquin Valley. She joined the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom in 2019 as the Central California Deputy Regional Director of External Affairs and in July of 2021 was promoted to Central California Regional Director. Herrera previously served as a Community Development Manager at Self-Help Enterprises, a nationally recognized community development organization dedicated to working with low-income families to build and sustain healthy communities. She worked at the Community Water Center from 2008 to 2014 and at the California Department of Food and Agriculture from 2004 to 2007.