The Biden administration on Friday named nine new appointees to oversee the Agriculture Department's farm and rural development programs at the state level. 

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack said the state directors for the Farm Service Agency and Rural Development “will add to the experienced, dedicated and growing team at the Department.”

“As USDA continues to work toward improving the lives of all Americans, we welcome these talented individuals who will each play a key role in advancing that shared mission,” Vilsack said.

The new state FSA and RD leaders are (listed alphabetically):

Arlissa Armstrong, Tennessee state RD director

Armstrong has worked in rural development in western Tennessee for nearly three decades. She has previously led efforts across a 12-county service area and completed residential, business, and commercial projects through grants and loans.

David Baker, RD state director for Delaware and Maryland

Baker is a lifelong Delaware resident who worked in Sussex County local government for more than 33 years. During that time, he has worked as the county’s finance director and county administrator and was a USDA grantee through projects he helped facilitate.

Kate Bolz, Nebraska state RD director

Bolz was most recently a mayoral aide for economic development for the City of Lincoln and was also a member of the state’s legislature. Aside from her legislative work, Bolz has also served as the executive director of the Nebraska Association of Service Providers and as an adjunct professor at Union College.

Benancio Cano, Jr., Texas FSA state executive director

Cano has been with FSA since 1994 and has been the district director for the southern area of Texas since 2002.

Betsy Dirksen Londrigan, Illinois RD state director

Dirksen Londrigan has been in the nonprofit sector for 20 years. In her new role, USDA says she is committed to “working with rural communities to bring investments to every corner of the state to support local and regional initiatives, power economic development and grow local economies.”

Scott Halpin, Illinois FSA state executive director

Halpin farms near South Wilmington, Illinois, with his parents and brother. The Illinois Agricultural Leadership Program grad also has experience as the chairman of the member services and public relations committee for Illinois Farm Bureau.

Sherry Hamel, Maine state FSA executive director

Hamel has been with USDA for nearly 30 years, including time serves as a legal assistant, farm loan specialist, and executive officer for FSA.

Brian Murray, New York RD state director

Murray has been with RD for nearly 20 years as a loan specialist and area director. He most recently was the associate director for New York RD.  

Doris Washington, Arkansas FSA state executive director

Washington brings 33 years of government and public affairs management experience to FSA and was most recently the director of the National Water Management Center at USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

For more news, go to