March 28, 2022
The Biden administration has continued to flesh out agricultural appointments in Iowa and recently named members of the state FSA committee and the new executive director.
At the end of 2021, President Joe Biden appointed Matthew Russell as the new executive director for the USDA Iowa Farm Service Agency. Russell is a fifth-generation farmer operating a family farm near Lacona. He served on the state committee during the Obama administration. As state director, Russell will oversee the FSA programs available to agricultural producers in Iowa.
Recently, the five members of the FSA state committee were appointed by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. This group is responsible for the oversight of farm programs and county committee operations, resolving program delivery appeals from the agricultural community, maintaining cooperative relations with industry stakeholders, and keeping producers informed about FSA programs.
The individuals who will serve on the Iowa committee include committee chair Wendy Johnson of Charles City; Kayla A. Koether of Decorah; Ryan Marquardt of Van Meter; Mark Recker of Arlington; and Seth Watkins of Clarinda.
Committee chair is ‘dedicated, knowledgeable’
Johnson, the owner and operator of Joia Food Farm, focused on organic field crops and humanely raising livestock. She has spent a lot of time learning from others as to how to best raise her crops and livestock to add value to the land and what she produces. Johnson has spent many years on the Practical Farmers of Iowa board of directors.
“Through my involvement with PFI, I have learned a lot about conservation practices, and became involved with FSA at the county level,” Johnson said. “I was chair of PFI and have been on the executive committee, which is likely why I was asked to be a part of the state FSA committee. This is a huge honor, and I’m glad I can serve.”
“PFI is thrilled Wendy Johnson has been nominated to Iowa’s state FSA committee. Wendy is a dedicated, knowledgeable farmer who knows how to listen, work with others and cares about creating resilient farms and landscapes,” Sally Worley, Practical Farmers of Iowa’s executive director, said in a statement.
“We know she will be an asset to FSA and farmers across the state, and will work hard to ensure all those who currently farm or aspire to farm have access to the working lands, beginning farmer and other programs that can help them,” Worley said.
Each state FSA committee comprises three to five members who are proven leaders and early adopters of farming practices supported by the agency’s programs. The Farm Service Agency serves farmers, ranchers, foresters, and agricultural partners by providing conservation programs, credit and loan funds. FSA also provides agricultural producers with farm commodity and disaster programs.
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