President Joe Biden announced new Department of Agriculture leaders Thursday, naming three new state Farm Service Agency leaders and eight individuals to head state Rural Development offices.

The newly appointed leaders will be charged with implementing farm programs across the country as well as working to distribute funds used to invest in everything from homes to packing plants.

The new FSA leaders include:

Amy Knapp Pettit, Alaska: Pettit began her career in 2005 with Alaska’s state division of agriculture. She most recently served as the executive director of Alaska’s Farmland Trust in 2015. 

Janice Kolvet, Nevada: Kolvet began her federal career 25 years ago and served in many positions with the Farm Service Agency in Nevada, California, and Washington, D.C. She has served as a district director and as an agricultural program specialist in both the Nevada and California state FSA offices and has served as a supervisory agricultural program specialist in the Production, Emergencies and Compliance Division, Disaster Assistance Section of FSA’s D.C. office. 

Marcy Svenningsen, North Dakota: Svenningsen lives and works on a farm with her husband where they grow wheat, corn, soybeans, and feed for their cattle. Svenningsen has spent 12 years as a district director on the North Dakota Farmers Union state board and has also served as the chair of North Dakota’s Farm Service Agency state committee for eight years. Most recently, Svenningsen has been the chair of the Cass County Electric Cooperative board of directors and as a director on the Minnkota Power Cooperative board.

New RD directors include: 

Julia Hnilicka, Alaska: Hnilicka recently made a run for Alaska State House and has experience in remote logistics, economic development, academia and business management. She obtained her Master’s in Rural Development from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Department of Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development.

Chris Kanazawa, Hawaii: Kanazawa has over 25 years of experience in the real estate industry. He previously held positions as President of the Land Division for Amfac/JMB Hawaii. In 2010, Kanazawa was appointed by former President Barack Obama as the USDA Rural Development State Director for Hawaii

Terry Goodin, Indiana: Most recently, Goodin served for 24 years as a public school superintendent at Crothersville Community Schools. As superintendent, he developed one of the first early college initiatives in the state, allowing students the opportunity to graduate from high school with a college degree. He has also served in the Indiana House of Representatives and was first elected in 2000. He served for 20 years and was chosen by his colleagues as the House Minority Leader in 2017.

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Scott Soares, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut: Bringing 25 years of experience in government relations services to his clients in the aquaculture, agriculture, fisheries, and food systems industries, Soares owns Boston Bay Consulting. He previously served as the state director of rural development for the three states during the Obama administration. He has also served as the Massachusetts commissioner of agriculture. 

Colleen Landkamer, Minnesota: Landkamer was first elected to the Blue Earth County Board of Commissioners in 1988. After 21 years of service, she was appointed by Obama to serve as USDA Rural Development State Director for Minnesota in 2009. Following her eight-year appointment and almost 10 years away from serving on the Blue Earth County Board, Landkamer was re-elected to the board in 2019.

Trina George, Mississippi: George was previously employed as the special projects and community outreach and development coordinator for Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss. She served as Mississippi’s state Rural Development director during the Obama administration and holds a Ph.D. in public policy and administration. 

Jane Asselta, New Jersey: Asselta serves as vice president of the Southern New Jersey Development Council, a non-profit business association. Before joining SNJDC, Asselta operated a fundraising consulting firm in Chicago, which relocated her to South Jersey in 2005.

Kenneth Corn, Oklahoma: Corn was first elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives at the age of 22. He later served in the Oklahoma State Senate, during which he served as the Democratic Caucus Chair as well as the chair of the Senate Appropriations Sub-committee for Public Safety and Judiciary. In 2010, Corn returned home to Poteau where he worked in the oil and gas transportation industry and in 2015, Corn was appointed the city manager of Anadarko.

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