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Farm Bureau looking forward to working with new FSA director

usdaSurry County native Dr. Ronald Howell has been named the USDA Farm Service Agency state executive director for Virginia.

The FSA implements agricultural policy, administers credit and loan programs, and manages conservation, commodity, disaster and farm marketing programs in each state. Its mission is to equitably serve all farmers, ranchers and agricultural partners through the delivery of effective, efficient agricultural programs for all Americans. State executive directors ensure that the needs of local constituents are met and USDA resources are distributed equitably.

Howell served as the director of operations and management in the College of Agriculture at Virginia State University since 2018. In that capacity, he oversaw the day-to-day operations of the university’s Randolph Farm. He also taught courses in agriculture education and mechanization there.

Virginia Farm Bureau Federation congratulates Ronald Howell on his appointment as FSA state executive director for Virginia,” said Wayne F. Pryor, VFBF president. “Dr. Howell comes to this position with an agricultural education from both of Virginia’s land grant universities and a breadth of experience in both state and federal government. Virginia Farm Bureau stands ready to work closely with Dr. Howell, knowing his success as FSA state executive director correlates directly with Virginia’s farmers having the support they need to succeed.”

Prior to Howell’s tenure at VSU, he served as the special assistant and advisor for strategic partnerships and initiatives to the secretary of agriculture and forestry under former governors Terry McAuliffe and Ralph Northam.

In that role, he worked to strengthen outreach efforts and minority farmers’ participation in USDA and state-based agricultural and conservation programs. Howell also provided recommendations for the Virginia Farm Business Development Program and the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Program.

“I am thankful to have the opportunity to return to USDA to serve as FSA state executive director in Virginia,” Howell noted. “Agriculture is Virginia’s No. 1 industry, and I am committed to advancing the agency’s mission at the state level and ensuring the voice of every customer who depends on programs and services provided by FSA is heard.

“There are tremendous opportunities ahead to open doors of access and to build partnerships with Virginia Farm Bureau and other ag-based organizations to advocate for the wonderful men and women responsible for providing the food, fuel, feed and fiber supply for our great nation and globally.”

Howell earned a bachelor’s degree in agriculture business and economics from VSU in 2009 and a master’s degree from Virginia Tech in agricultural and life sciences in 2012. In 2021, he received his doctorate in education and community leadership with a focus on agriculture education from Murray State University in Kentucky.


augusta free press
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