SED Daniel Robinson participated in the groundbreaking ceremonies for two new agricultural centers — the Carver Integrative Sustainability Center and the Black Belt Family Farm Fruit and Vegetable Marketing and Innovation Center.
by Vicki A. Lane, FSA public relations/outreach specialist
More than 200 agricultural workers from around the southeastern United States recently gathered in Tuskegee, Ala., for the 69th Professional Agricultural Workers Conference (PAWC) held at Tuskegee University.
This year’s event focused on enhancing the skills and contributions of agricultural professionals by sharing new technologies and information, and included a groundbreaking ceremony for two new agricultural centers.
by Paul Lehman, public affairs officer, FSA West Region
Brenda Farias has been selected as one of 24 participants in 2012-2013 class ofthe California Agricultural Leadership Program. Leadership seems to come naturally to the downtown Los Angeles native who grew up in the inner city thinking about becoming an animal doctor and is now the county executive director of the busy Santa Maria FSA office.
“Early on in college I knew I wanted to work for the United States Department of Agriculture,” notes Brenda. “Although I didn’t grow up in a farm, I visited my grandparents’ farm each summer in Mexico and learned to love the animals.” Brenda shows a passion for meeting challenges, team-building and bringing people together. Through the Ag Leadership Program she hopes to expand her personal skills to be a more effective and influential leader in her community.
Lois Loop accepted an award on behalf of the Oregon Farm Service Agency for implementing the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program.
The Oregon Farm Service Agency received the 2011 President’s Partnership Award from the Oregon Association of Conservation Districts for their work in the successful implementation of the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP).
The office received the joint award along with the Oregon Soil and Water Conservation Commission and the state’s Department of Agriculture, Watershed Enhancement Board and Natural Resources Conservation Service to recognize the collaborative effort of all agencies.
Pictured from l to r: CED Bill Trado, SED Laurie Lawson, Landowner David Williams and son.
by J. Latrice Hill, FSA Outreach Program Lead
Rows of bright green grape vines provided an appropriate backdrop for the recent USDA Field Day held at Williams Muscadine Farm in Nesmith, South Carolina.
Bill Trado, county executive director of Williamsburg FSA, led what is being called one of the most diverse and successful outreach events in South Carolina. More than 100 gathered to hear about USDA programs at the site of the vineyard and honor the landowner, 84-year-old David Williams, for his outstanding accomplishments in agriculture.
Chippewa County staff members were honored with the Friend of 4-H Award. Pictured (from l to r): Sue Bye, Diane Berven, Liz Ludwig, Laurie Golden, and Lori Olson.
Five staff members of the Chippewa County Farm Service Agency in Minnesota were honored at the annual 4-H awards for their support and dedication to the agricultural organization. The group received the Friend of 4-H award for collaborating on several events that have educated and encouraged young people to get into the field of agriculture.
Chippewa County FSA employees have served as livestock herdsmanship judges at the county fair and in the past two years, they have also dedicated time to the “Little Farm Hands” exhibit at the fair. The exhibit allows children of all ages to discover the origins of their food. Participants have the opportunity to collect eggs, feed cattle, hogs, sheep and dairy cows as well as milk a cow, pick apples, sugar beets and potatoes. They are then shown how to sell their goods at the market.
by Sandra Mahoney, district specialist, Montana Farm Service Agency
Deputy Administrator of Farm Programs Juan M. Garcia was in Great Falls, Mont. to speak at the Montana Grain Growers Association Convention & Trade Show. While in town, the national FSA deputy administrator stopped by the Cascade County FSA office to visit with staff.
Garcia discussed issues that the county offices are facing with regards to implementing disaster, emergency conservation and compliance programs and fielded questions from employees regarding any concerns they had with FSA programs. Employees mentioned concerns regarding budget issues and impacts, as well as rules impacting reestablishment criteria for grass seeding on re-enrolled Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contracts. Discussion took place on one common crop acreage reporting system for Risk Management Agency and FSA producer crop acreage reports.
Recipients of the 2011 Darrel Zerger Award for California Farm Loan Team Excellence are (back row, l to r) Sandy Davidson, farm loan officer; Alice Lycan, farm loan program technician; Katherine Lewis, farm loan manager; Ed DeBauche; farm loan officer; (front row, l to r) Jill Monson, farm loan program technician; Emily McCray, farm loan officer trainee.
The California Farm Service Agency has recognized the accomplishments of several farm loan employees by awarding them the Zerger Farm Loan Team Award.
The team, which consists of six employees from two county offices that cover California’s Northern mountain region, was honored for exemplary customer service, which is a challenge in the nine-county territory.
Covering the counties of Siskiyou, Shasta, Lassen, Trinity, Modoc, Plumas, Sierra, Tehama and Butte, requires team members to take day-long drives on mountain roads, sharing the narrow cliffside stretches of highway with semi trucks pulling doubles filled with cut timber, hay super bales and cattle.
By Chris Tatum, chief program technician, Bladen County FSA
Thomas Carlton “Chubby” Starling, Bladen County executive director of the USDA Farm Service Agency in North Carolina retired last month after 35 years of service.
Starling began his career in Cumberland County when he was hired as a compliance/field technician in 1976.After being accepted and completing the County Office Trainee Program for managers he was hired by the ASCS County Committee in Moore County in 1983.He held the position of county executive director in Moore County until 1985.In that same year he was hired by the ASCS County Committee in Hoke County where he held the position of executive director until 1997.
That was the year “Chubby” was hired by the FSA County Committee in Bladen County where he served as county executive director until his retirement on Dec. 2, 2011.