Four individuals have been appointed by the Obama administration to the California Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Committee.
State Committee members oversee the activities of the agency, including carrying out the state agricultural conservation programs, resolving appeals from the agriculture community, and keeping producers informed about FSA programs.
The appointees include:
• Ronald Kelley, committee chair
Kelley, from Sacramento County, Calif., has operated R. Kelley Farms, a 50 acre “u-pick” operation in the Sacramento Delta since 1994. Kelley specializes in summer fruits and vegetables. He is a seed division manager for The Lyman Group, Inc. where he focuses on wholesale seed clients.
• Reis Soares
Soares, from Madera County, Calif., emigrated from the Azores Islands to California in 1962. In 1984, Soares and her husband started a dairy farm in Chowchilla. She has served as the minority advisor for the Madera County FSA committee since 1999.
• Michael Honig
Honig, from Napa County, Calif., is the president and managing partner of Honig Vineyard & Winery. Honig chaired the first California initiative to develop a "Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices," a voluntary program establishing statewide guidelines for sustainable farming and winemaking.
• Pete Navarro
Navarro, born and raised in Watsonville, Calif., operates Navarro Farms, a strawberry operation founded by his father and uncle who began as farm laborers from Mexico. Navarro is a member of the Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau and a former member of the California Strawberry Commission.
• Lynn Skinner
Skinner, from Merced County, was raised on a California family farm. Skinner and her husband operate the historic Wolfsen Land and Cattle Company carrying on a family agribusiness legacy that has spanned some 80 years. The Skinners produce tomatoes and other crops.
USDA’s FSA works to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural Americans.
Some of the agency's efforts include facilitating income support, disaster assistance and conservation programs, providing operating loans for the procurement of farm equipment, seed and fertilizer, plus offering ownership loans to help new and veteran producers purchase a farm.
FSA also works to procure various commodities to benefit low-income families through domestic food assistance programs.