The Obama administration has begun naming individuals to serve as state executive directors for the Farm Service Agency at the USDA.

“These individuals have a solid understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing our rural communities and will help build on the Obama Administration’s efforts to rebuild and revitalize rural America,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Included are:

Mississippi:

Michael Sullivan, a full time farmer since 1970. He operates a 2,000-acre row crop, poultry and cattle business with his brother. From 1990-1996, he worked in a variety of senior management roles at the National Furniture Market in Tupelo, Miss., where he was responsible for the daily management and market development of the nation’s second largest furniture showplace. Sullivan has agricultural real estate experience and is currently a member of the Mississippi Farm Bureau, Mississippi Cattlemen’s Association, and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Sullivan holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from Mississippi State University.

Missouri:

Edward J. Hamill, who has been the Ralls County, Mo., executive director for the Farm Service Agency since 1979. In this position, he has delivered all major farm bill legislation to Ralls County farmers and landowners, managed county FSA staff, and worked with the county FSA committee to implement programs. He has also been a management trainer since the 1990s, providing training for candidates for FSA county executive director positions across the state.