Whitney Place named Farm Service Agency state executive director for Minnesota

President Joe Biden on Thursday, Jan. 13, announced his intention to appoint Whitney Place as Farm Service Agency executive director for Minnesota.

President Joe Biden intends to appoint Whitney Place, former assistant commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, to serve as Farm Service Agency state executive director for Minnesota. Minnesota Department of Agriculture photo.
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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Thursday, Jan. 13, announced his intention to appoint Whitney Place as Farm Service Agency executive director for Minnesota.

Place was one of five people named for state executive director roles. Biden named three others to serve as state-level Rural Development state directors.

Place most recently served as the assistant commissioner at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. She had worked for MDA since 2012 in the roles of director of legislative affairs, assistant to the commissioner, and project coordinator for the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program. Place earned a bachelor's degree in applied plant science and a master's degree in science, technology and environmental policy from the University of Minnesota.

“I want to thank Whitney for her decade of service here at the MDA and for her dedication to agriculture,” said Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen. “She has been a valuable member of our team and I look forward to continuing to work with her at the FSA on issues and policies affecting farmers in our state.”

“We’ve worked with Whitney for years on issues that are important to Minnesota farm families,” said Minnesota Farmers Union President Gary Wertish. “Whitney worked hard on establishing Minnesota’s Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program that has now enrolled more than 800,000 acres and she was also instrumental in furthering Minnesota’s industrial hemp program. We wish her much success in her new role and look forward to continuing our strong working relationship.”


Others named Thursday to FSA state executive director posts were Blong Xiong for California, Matt Gellings for Idaho, Heidi Secord for Pennsylvania, and Dr. Ronald Howell, Jr., for Virginia. Named to Rural Development posts were Lakeisha Hood for Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Rudy Soto for Idaho and Helen Price Johnson for Washington.

“As we work to build a better America, we need talented and experienced staff working in our state offices,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “We are thrilled to welcome these dedicated individuals to USDA at such an important time in the Biden-Harris administration.”

FSA state executive directors oversee FSA 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.

Rural Development 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.

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