Global Agriculture

USDA Announces Additional Farm Service Agency and Rural Development State Directors

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24 June 2022, New Delhi: Today, President Joe Biden announced his intent to appoint five U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regional positions, including three Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Directors and two Rural Development (RD) State Directors.

“Here at USDA, we continue to add experienced and talented individuals to our state offices,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “I have full confidence that each of these individuals will add knowledge and leadership to the dedicated team at the Department.”

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:

Ronald Guidry, Jr. will be appointed FSA State Executive Director for Louisiana

A native ‘New Orleanian’, Ronald C. Guidry Jr. was born and raised in the neighborhood of Algiers along the west bank of the Mississippi River. Since 2018, Guidry has served as the advisor for the USDA Farm Service Agency County Committee which services multiple parishes across southeastern Louisiana. As committee advisor, Ronald has used his unique perspective to make informed policy decisions and ensure timely implementation and administration of federal farm programs. Ronald is the owner and operator of Farm Dat, a USDA Class B certified farm, that focuses on raising and selling farm animals. Guidry is a proud alumnus of St. Augustine High School and Dillard University.

Mark Gibbons will be appointed FSA State Executive Director for Utah

Mark Gibbons is a third generation Dairy Farmer from Lewiston, Utah. His family operates a 1200-acre farm where they milk roughly 700 cows each day. Prior to being named State Executive Director, Mark served as the Utah State Farm Service Agency Executive Director, President of the Utah Farmers Union, President of the Dairy Producers of Utah, President of the Governors Agriculture Advisory Board, Vice President of the Western States Dairy Producers Trade Association, Utah State FFA Foundation Board member and on several other farm related committees. Gibbons lives in Lewiston with his wife Shanna. The couple has three sons, three daughters-in-law and eleven grandchildren.

Maureen Wicks will be appointed FSA State Executive Director for Montana

Maureen Wicks has spent over 30 years working for and representing Montana farmers. From 1985-1995, Maureen was involved in WIFE (Women Involved in Farm Economics) and served as its Hi-Line Chapter president. In 1998, Wicks became the first woman elected to the Liberty County Farm Services Administration, where she served for 16 years. In 2014, Maureen was elected to serve as a Liberty County Commissioner and was recently re-elected in 2021. In addition to her work, Wicks is also a dryland wheat farmer and member of the Montana Grain Growers and Montana Farmer’s Union. Maureen holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Government from Montana State University. Maureen is also a former teacher, teaching both Government and Social Studies for over 15 years in school districts across Montana.

Rural Development:

Christy Davis will be appointed RD State Director in Kansas

Christy Cauble Davis is a fifth-generation Kansan who has dedicated her career to serving and strengthening Kansas communities. For more than two decades, Davis has facilitated statewide projects and programs that have generated billions of dollars in economic impact. She has served as Legislative Chair for the Kansas Downtown Development Association and on the board of the Chase County Chamber of Commerce. Most recently, Davis served as Executive Director of Symphony in Flint Hills. In line with her passion of strengthening communities, in 2016, Christy and her husband Luke adopted a historic building in Cottonwood Falls and transformed it into an award-winning laundromat. In 2019, the couple rehabilitated an historic bank building to create new housing and a bookstore. When she is not working, Davis enjoys participating in community events, hiking, swimming, reading and spending time with her 10-year-old son.

Lillian Salerno will be appointed RD State Director in Texas

Lillian Salerno returns to USDA as the RD State Director in Texas with over two decades of experience leading teams in government and industry. Prior to her current appointment, Salerno served in the Obama-Biden Administration for six years, first as the Rural Business Administrator and later as Deputy Undersecretary for Rural Development. As Deputy Undersecretary, Lillian was a member of the White House Rural Council where she provided a voice for rural Americans and their concerns regarding economic development, innovation, entrepreneurship and access to capital for new and beginning farmers. Lillian has a long history advocating for and protecting vulnerable populations. As a young attorney, Salerno was regularly designated as court appointed council for vulnerable and Spanish-speaking only Texans in need of an advocate. Her work experience has made her an advocate for delivering resources based on community needs. Lillian holds a bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, a master’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of North Texas and a Juris Doctor from Southern Methodist University. She is also a graduate of the Executive Leadership Program offered by Harvard University.

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