August 4, 2010
Some 18 months after the Obama Administration took office, the Indiana State Farm Service Agency Committee has been announced. In the past, most committees were named to this politically-appointed position within a few months.
In the meantime, Julia Wickard, executive director of the Indiana FSA, has operated without a committee to help guide the agency. That means she's had to make decisions on appeals coming from producers on her own. Hearing appeals is one job of the state FSA committee.
The FSA state committee has typically had five members in the past. Only three people were appointed to this committee.
Appointees include Robert Peacock, Deputy, Ind., Wayne Vance, Greenwood, and Kristen Whittington, Edinburgh.
Peacock is currently Executive Director of the Scott County Economic Development Corporation. He was formerly Executive Director of FSA in Indiana, the position now held by Wickard, under the Clinton Administration.
Working with the local mayor, Peacock was instrumental in helping get broadband internet services for Scottsburg and surrounding communities. He believes that would help further economic development.
His resume says Peacock has operated farm for 30 years with his brother. He has also served as an elected official on the Scot County Council for 11 years.
Wayne Vance is likely a new name to most in agriculture. His bio says he's owned and operated a family farm in Jennings County for 25 years. His career, however, is in government. Currently, he's Assistant Director for the Center on Congress at Indiana University. He at one time was chief administrative assistant to Congressman Lee Hamilton. Vance was also the first director of the Green Thumb project in Indiana.
You most likely remember Whittington as director of ag relations for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. She served in that communications director-capacity for several years. Currently, Whittington operates her own consulting business. It's called Landmark Enterprises, and it's billed as a full-service consulting firm for livestock producers.
The stated role for the state committee, coming from Wickard, is to "oversse the activities of the agency, including carrying out the state conservation programs, resolving appeals from the agriculture community and helping keep producers informed about FSA programs.
Indiana Prairie Farmer questioned why no committee had yet been appointed in an editorial in the June issue of the magazine. A committee was rumored to be close to announcement since Christmas.
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