Today, President Joe Biden announced his intent to appoint eight U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regional positions, including five Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Directors and three Rural Development (RD) State Directors.
“Here at USDA, we continue to add experience and talented individuals to our state offices,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “I have full confidence in the work these new State Directors and State Executive Directors will accomplish to advance USDA’s mission in their local communities.”
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:
Emily Cole has been appointed FSA State Executive Director for Connecticut
Prior to her appointment, Dr. Emily Cole served as New England Regional Deputy Director for American Farmland Trust (AFT), a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting farmland, promoting sound farming practices, and keeping farmers on the land. As deputy director, Cole developed AFT’s New England’s regional Climate and Agriculture program focused on supporting farmers across New England in their efforts to adopt climate smart agriculture through innovative technical and financial assistance, which included the largest soil health project in New England history. Emily is passionate about improving all Connecticut farmers’ access to financial and technical assistance to support farm viability and the vitality of Connecticut agriculture. Cole earned her Ph.D. in Plant and Soil Sciences from the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her research focused on improving soil health and carbon sequestration on farmland in the Connecticut River Valley. Cole also holds a Master’s degree in Science Education from Boston University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Kenyon College. She lives in Bloomsbury, CT with her husband Ray and their daughter.
John Patterson has been appointed FSA State Executive Director for Ohio
John Patterson is a former state legislator and retired teacher whose work experience spans over 40 years. Most recently, Patterson served in the Ohio House until term limits prohibited his continued service. During his tenure in the state legislature, Patterson served on the Agricultural and Natural Resources Committee, including two terms as ranking member. Prior to his time in the Ohio House, Patterson was a high school history teacher at Jefferson Area High School. He retired from teaching in 2012. John earned his Ph.D. in Education from Kent State University. He has been married to his wife Nancy for 38 years and has two sons, Joshua and Jeremiah.
Gail Greenman has been appointed FSA State Executive Director for Oregon
Greenman joins USDA after serving as Executive Director for the Westside Economic Alliance (WEA). During her tenure, Greenman oversaw the organization’s daily operations and brought together businesses and elected officials to further advancement of transportation, workforce development, affordable housing and other infrastructure issues critical to the Portland metropolitan region. Greenman has also served as the lead federal public affairs professional at the Oregon Farm Bureau (OFB) where she cultivated relationships with Oregon’s congressional delegation. She also has experience working in the federal education policy arena having served as the director of Government Affairs for the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools.
Kelly Adkins has been appointed FSA State Executive Director for Texas
A native of Haskell, TX, Adkins was raised on a small family farm in Haskell County where he attended the local high school, and later, Texas Tech University. While at Texas Tech, Adkins worked at the Texas A&M Agricultural Research and Experiment Station where he gained a deeper knowledge of agriculture. Upon his graduation, Adkins took a position with the FSA. Kelly has enjoyed a long career serving the farmers and ranchers of Texas. He has held a variety of positions during his tenure at FSA including County Executive Director in Grimes and Randall Counties, District Director, TASCOE Director, Mediation Coordinator, and as a County Office Trainee Program Trainer and Instructor. Kelly currently lives in Canyon, TX and spends his time helping run a small farming/cattle operation in Randall County.
Eric Scherer has been appointed FSA State Executive Director for Rhode Island
Eric Scherer is a USDA certified Technical Service Provider and Conservation Planner specializing in providing technical support to the public and private sectors on natural resource issues that include land use and environmental impact. He also aids agricultural producers on comprehensive nutrient management plans and grazing management plans for USDA program participation and the Rhode Island Farm, Forest and Open Space Program. Prior to his work as a technical consultant, Eric was the Executive Director of the Southern Rhode Island Conservation District. Eric has 37 years of federal service, having worked for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (formally the Soil Conservation Service) in six states in various positions, including State Resource Conservationist and Assistant State Conservationist for field Operations in Warwick, Rhode Island. Scherer lives in Rhode Island with his wife, Linda, of 38 years. He enjoys sharing time with his three children and four grandchildren.
Thomas Carew has been appointed RD State Director in Kentucky
Prior to joining USDA, Carew served as the Executive Vice President of Membership and Advocacy for Fahe in Central Appalachia. While at Fahe, Tom was the principal author of the 502 Direct Packaging Demonstration with USDA. Through his leadership, Fahe’s membership grew from 44, to include more than 55, affordable housing nonprofits. Tom helped lead the expansion of Fahe housing programs into Alabama and Maryland. Tom was the founding Executive Director of Frontier Housing, a non-profit, affordable housing developer based in Morehead, KY. He is also the recipient of the Dorothy Williams Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kentucky Housing Corporation – the highest award given in the Commonwealth for non-profit housing producers. In 2010, Carew received the Cochran Collings award from the Housing Assistance Council for service to Rural America.
Michele Weaver has been appointed RD State Director in Utah
Michele Weaver brings a broad background of experience with her as RD’s newest Utah State Director. Weaver has experience working as a small business owner, spent time in the banking industry and non-profit sector. In 2018, she was appointed to the Utah Commission for Housing Affordability by Governor Gary Herbert where she effectively highlighted challenges in rural communities and lead efforts to increase funding and positively impact statewide policy. With more than 25 years of experience in affordable housing development, Weaver has been an instrumental advocate for rural Utah residents and their issues. She has provided economic development technical assistance and training, assisted nonprofit organizations and tribal housing developments and administered small business lending programs. Weaver is a finance graduate from the University of Utah and enjoys spending time outdoors, enjoying Utah’s unique geography.
Jill Floyd has been appointed RD State Director in Arkansas
A native Arkansan, Jill Floyd joins USDA after previously serving as the Director of Community and Client Engagement with Little Rock based CDI Contractors, a commercial general contractor and construction management firm. There, she was responsible for developing relationships with potential clients and increasing efficiency with MWBE construction subcontractors. Floyd led CDI’s K-12 STEM initiative to encourage girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, math and construction. Prior to her time with CDI Contractors, Jill worked in manufacturing as a Project Manager with Cummins Engine, after which she joined Ford Motor Company as a Quality Engineer, focusing on improving processes and part quality at supplier plants. She subsequently moved into procurement where she managed a global portfolio of purchased parts. Floyd serves on the Arkansas Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women and previously served on the Mayor’s Opportunity Zone Task Force and Housing and Mobility Transition Team Task Force. Floyd received her Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Oklahoma and MBA/MS in Engineering in Quality and Manufacturing Management from Penn State University.