Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns has appointed Teresa Coarsey Lasseter, a former county Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service director in Georgia, as administrator of the Farm Service Agency, the ASCS' successor organization.

“Teresa Lasseter's experience at the local, state and federal levels, combined with her personal involvement with agriculture, provide her with tremendous insight and an ability to lead the Farm Service Agency into the future,” said Johanns. “Her commitment to service fits perfectly with the agency's long tradition of serving America's farmers and ranchers.”

She replaces FSA Administrator James Little, who resigned after USDA announced it was beginning a “modernization” program that could result in the closure or consolidation of 713 of FSA's 2,355 county offices. USDA now says the plan will not be implemented.

Johanns announced the appointment prior to hosting the Georgia Farm Bill Forum, the 18th hosted by Johanns and the 34th in a series of farm policy listening sessions, at the Sunbelt Expo in Moultrie, Ga.

As FSA administrator, Lasseter will oversee farm programs, farm loans, commodity operations, conservation programs, disaster assistance and field operations at FSA offices in all 50 states.

A Georgia native, Lasseter served at FSA from 2001 to 2003, first as state executive director in Georgia and later as associate administrator for farm programs in Washington.

She served as executive director of the Georgia Agrirama Development Authority from 1993 to 1999 and also worked for the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, FSA's predecessor, in several positions from 1977 to 1993, culminating as a county executive director for Lee County.

Lasseter was the recipient of the USDA's Unsung Hero Award and the Athena Award, and she received the Farm Service Agency Administrator's Award for outstanding work specifically for implementing the 2002 Farm Security and Rural Investment Act.