WASHINGTON, Nov. 4, 2017 - Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has announced the appointment of state directors for the Farm Service Agency and for USDA's Rural Development programs.
“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,” 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."
The FSA state directors include David Schemm of Kansas, who recently stepped down as president of the National Association of Wheat Growers. The state RD directors include Hilda Legg of Kentucky, a former administrator of USDA's Rural Utilities Service.
Farm Service Agency 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 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 FSA, 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 Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Ioa, and the USDA.
Kansas: David Schemm
David Schemm was president of the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers and recently stepped down as 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 Inc. and the Cotton Foundation, before also serving on the Mississippi FSA State Committee from 2003 through 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, D.C., at FSA.
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 has 20 years of experience as a dairy farmer along with 29 years at FSA.
North Carolina: Len McBride
Len McBride began his career with FSA 32 years ago and prior to his appointment he served as a district director for the FSA based in Statesville, N.C.
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 Association board and the American Farm Bureau Federation’s wheat advisory committee.
Ohio: Leonard Hubert
Leonard Hubert served as the director of externalaAffairs and economic opportunity for Ohio Gov. John Kasich 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, serving the last 32 years as FSA executive director for Yoakum County.
Utah: Bruce Richeson
Bruce Richeson returns to service at the USDA having previously served as the Utah FSA State executive eirector 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 joined USDA’s Rural Utilities Service in 1999 and most recently served as senior bice 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 chairman 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 FSA.
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 state 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 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 serving California rural communitiy needs for nearly 20 years.
Colorado: Sallie Clark
Sallie Clark is a former El Paso County, Colo., commissioner, city council member, small-business entrepreneur, and past president of the National Association of Counties.
Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island: George Krivda
George Krivda has worked at the Rhode Island Agriculture Department 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. Rep. 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. She served the same role in then-Gov. Sonny Perdue’s office, and has focused on helping rural Georgia.
Hawaii: Gigi Jones
Gigi Jones founded an organization known as Cool Our Keiki and has worked in construction, small business, engineering and business development for over 20 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 third 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
He has been a first-generation agricultural producer of livestock and grains since 1975.
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 has been a consultant to Wiley Rein LLP and is a former administrator of the Rural Utilities Service
Louisiana: Dr. Carrie Castille
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, 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 George W. Bush administration and has 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 and served six years in the Marine Corps.
Nevada: Philip Cowee
Philip Cowee has spent nearly 20 years developing properties and running businesses in Lyon County.
New Hampshire: 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 served with 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 involved in numerous efforts to assist 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 has served in almost every role at the state level of USDA-RD, 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 cevelopment director for the Lake Area Improvement Corporation in Madison.
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 rural 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.
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 the state-wide program Leadership Monongalia, which is designed to educate and sustain community leaders.
Wisconsin: Frank Frasetto
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 Wisconsin Department 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.