USDA Announces Additional Farm Service Agency, Rural Development State Directors

Published online: Jan 05, 2022 News
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Source: USDA

On Jan. 4, the USDA announced additional regional positions, including three Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Directors and two Rural Development (RD) State Directors.

“We are grateful to have these five individuals serving in these roles at USDA,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “With diverse skills and experiences, each will be an important representative of USDA in their states as we work to improve the lives of the American people and build a better America.”

FSA State Executive Directors oversee Farm Service Agency operations and agricultural policy implementation in the state. Each State Executive Director works with the State Committee to administer FSA programs and County office operations, develops and maintains stakeholder relationships with customers and other agencies and governments.

RD State Directors serve as the chief executive officer of Rural Development in the states and territories and are tasked with carrying out the mission of Rural Development to the benefit of everyone in rural America. In conjunction with the guidance and support of the National Office, State Directors are responsible for promoting the mission and strategic goals of Rural Development and provide key leadership to develop and support a productive, diverse, and inclusive state workforce.

Farm Service Agency:

Dean Schamore has been appointed FSA State Executive Director for Kentucky

A resident of Hardinsburg, KY, Dean Schamore most recently served as President of Digital Connections Plus, an IT company he founded in 1993. He is also Chairman of the Lincoln Trail Workforce Investment Board and previously served as President of the Breckinridge County Chamber of Commerce. Schamore is a three-term former State Representative in the Kentucky General Assembly. While in the General Assembly, he served on the Agricultural, Tobacco Settlement, Appropriations and Revenue, Veterans, and Banking and Insurance Committees. He also served his country in the US Navy during the Gulf War.

Joseph Aull has been appointed FSA State Executive Director for Missouri

Joe Aull is a lifelong Missourian with a dedicated history of public service. He currently serves as Mayor of Lexington, MO. Aull worked in Missouri’s public school system for 34 years, serving as a teacher, coach, principal, and superintendent. In 1992, he received the Pearce Award for an outstanding School Superintendent in Missouri. After retiring from public education, Aull was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives, where he served for a total of 8 years. During his time in the House, he was the Ranking Member of the Elementary and Secondary Education Committee, and he served all 8 years as a member of the House Agriculture Policy Committee.

John Berge has been appointed FSA State Executive Director for Nebraska

A western Nebraska native who grew up on a corn and wheat farm, John Berge has served as the General Manager of the North Platte Natural Resources District in Scottsbluff, NE since 2013. He returns to USDA after serving in a number of positions from 2009 to 2013. In 2009, Berge was appointed White House Liaison to the Department of Agriculture. He was later appointed Deputy and Acting Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations, the Deputy Administrator for Field Operations at FSA, and the Executive Director of the National Food and Agriculture Council at USDA. Before joining USDA, he served as the Executive Director of the Western Nebraska Community College Foundation and on the staffs of Senators Jim Exon, Bob Kerrey, and Ben Nelson. Berge is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Omaha and holds a Certificate in Climate Change and Energy from the Harvard Kennedy School. A current student in the Masters of Applied Science program in Environmental Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, he resides in Gering, NE.

Rural Development:

Kathleen Williams has been appointed RD State Director for Montana

Kathleen Williams has worked for 38 years in economics and natural resource planning and policy in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. From 1995 to 1999, she led the Environmental Quality Council, a bipartisan committee of the Montana Legislature, and served as a staffer on the Montana House Committee on Natural Resources. Williams then worked as the Water Program Manager with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks and later as the executive director of the nonprofit Instream Flow Council. In 2010, she was elected to the Montana House of Representatives, where she served three terms. As a state legislator, Williams vice-chaired the Agriculture Committee, and passed legislation to improve health care and infrastructure, grow and diversify Montana's economy, and advance local food production systems. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource Economics from the University of California, Berkley and a Master’s in Recreation Resources from Colorado State University, Fort Collins.

Sarah Waring has been appointed RD State Director for New Hampshire and Vermont

Vermont native Sarah Waring most recently worked as Vice President for Grants and Community Investments at the Vermont Community Foundation. Previously, she worked at the Vermont Council on Rural Development, Farm and Wilderness Foundation, and the Sonoran Institute. Waring also worked as the Executive Director at the Center for an Agricultural Economy. In 2020, she served on the Governor's Task Force for Economic Mitigation and Recovery where she supported the development of a toolkit for Municipal Engagement for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Waring resides in central Vermont.