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 in the first group named is Michael Sullivan of Mississippi.

Sullivan has been 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.

He has many years of service with civic and charitable activities and was honored in 2005 for his efforts in raising over $2 million for the City of Hope Cancer Research Hospital in Los Angeles.

Sullivan holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from Mississippi State University.