President Biden Announces Key Regional Appointments for USDA
WASHINGTON — Today, President Joe Biden appointed the following individuals to fill key regional leadership positions at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA):
- Ronald Guidry, Jr., USDA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency, Louisiana
- Maureen Wicks, USDA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency, Montana
- Mark Gibbons, USDA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency, Utah
- Christy Davis, USDA State Director, Rural Development, Kansas
- Lillian Salerno, USDA State Director, Rural Development, Texas
These regional appointments will be critical to the President’s efforts to rebuild communities hardest hit by the pandemic, economic recovery and climate change. They bring deep expertise in their areas of interest as well as critical relationships with federal, state, tribal and local leaders. And, in keeping with the president’s commitment to building an administration that looks like America, these regional appointments represent the diversity of America and the communities they serve.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (USDA)
The USDA’s Farm Service Agency implements agricultural policy, administers credit and loan programs, and manages conservation, commodity, disaster, and agricultural marketing programs in each U.S. state. Its mission is to serve all farmers, ranchers, and agricultural partners equitably through the delivery of effective and efficient agricultural programs for all Americans. State Executive Directors oversee this work, ensuring that the needs of local constituents are met and that USDA resources are distributed fairly and equitably.
USDA’s Rural Development Mission Area is committed to helping improve the economy and quality of life in rural America. State directors head offices that provide grants, loans, and loan guarantees to help create jobs and support economic development and essential services.
Ronald Guidry, Jr., USDA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency, Louisiana
Ronald C. Guidry, Jr. is a native of New Orleans and a proud alumnus of St. Augustine High School and Dillard University, from which he holds a degree in communications. Over the course of his career, Guidry has established vital relationships with the community at large as well as with the farming community, both locally and internationally.
Since 2018, Guidry has served as an advisor to the county committee of the USDA Farm Service Agency, which serves several parishes in southeastern Louisiana. As an advisor to the committee, Guidry was responsible for implementing agricultural service agency programs, providing diverse perspectives and making informed policy decisions to ensure grassroots input and local government administration. federal agricultural programs. He is also the owner and operator of Farm Dat, a USDA Class B certified farm, where he is responsible for all operations including management, marketing, staff, finance, and customer service/relationships. the clientele. Although he primarily focuses on buying, raising and selling farm animals, he constantly builds and maintains community relationships with others from diverse socio-economic and cultural backgrounds to ensure sustainability. of the farm.
Maureen Wicks, USDA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency, Montana
Maureen “Morb” Wicks, a dryland wheat farmer from Liberty County, Montana, has worked for Montana farmers for more than 30 years. From 1985 to 1995, Wicks was heavily involved in WIFE (Women Involved in Farm Economics), including serving as president of the Hi-Line chapter and helping lead several lobbying trips to Washington, D.C. to advocate on farm policy issues. family. In 1998, Wicks was the first woman elected to the Liberty County Farm Services Administration, where she served for 16 years.
In 2014, Wicks was elected Liberty County Commissioner and was re-elected in 2021. During her tenure as Commissioner, Wicks served on the Agriculture Committee of the Montana Association of Counties, County Mental Health Advisory Council of Liberty and Liberty County. Advice on aging. Wicks has also served on the Tiber County Water Board, Bear Paw Development Board, and Liberty Medical Center Board. Wicks is a member of Montana Grain Growers and the Montana Farmer’s Union. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and government from Montana State University and has also taught government/social studies for over 15 years in rural and urban school districts in Montana.
Mark Gibbons, USDA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency, Utah
Mark Gibbons is a third-generation dairy farmer from Lewiston, Utah. He spent his life there on the farm and now the next generation runs the operation; they milk 700 cows and cultivate 1200 acres of land. Gibbons has served as executive director of the Utah State Farm Service Agency, president of the Utah Farmers Union, president of the Dairy Producers of Utah, chairman of the Governors Agriculture Advisory Board, vice president of the Western States Dairy Producers Trade Association, Utah State FFA Foundation member of the Board of Directors and various other farm-related committees. He resides in Lewiston with his wife, Shanna. They have three sons and daughters-in-law and eleven grandchildren.
Christy Davis, USDA State Director, Rural Development, Kansas
Christy Cauble Davis is a fifth-generation Kansan who has dedicated her career to strengthening Kansas communities. The projects and programs Davis has facilitated across the state have generated billions of dollars in economic impact. She served as Legislative President of the Kansas Downtown Development Association and a member of the boards of the Chase County Chamber of Commerce, Council Grove/Morris County Hospital Foundation, Preservation Action, and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation. Officers. After serving as a senior local and state government executive and developing a private consulting business, Davis worked to “increase appreciation and knowledge of the Flint Hills tallgrass prairie” as executive director of Symphony in the Flint Hills.
David, his husband Luke and their 10-year-old son, Jack, live in Chase County. In 2016, they adapted a historic building in Cottonwood Falls into an award-winning laundromat. In 2019, they spurred the revitalization of downtown Council Grove by rehabilitating a historic bank building to create much-needed housing and space for a new bookstore. Davis enjoys participating in community activities, hiking, swimming and reading.
Lillian Salerno, USDA State Director, Rural Development, Texas
Lillian Salerno has over two decades of experience leading teams in government and industry. Salerno served six years as an official in the Obama-Biden administration, first as Rural Affairs Administrator and then as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Rural Development in the United States Department of Agriculture . She was a member of the White House Rural Council where she provided an unwavering voice for rural Americans. As USDA Deputy Assistant Secretary, Salerno managed both political and career federal workers and established various internal boards and committees. She also served on the Executive Resource Council, which included issues regarding cybersecurity, executive compensation and resource management. Additionally, Salerno led the National Hispanic Women Farmers Claims Team.
Salerno has led and served on numerous White House task forces, including the interagency task force focused on the rural opioid epidemic as well as the National Economic Council’s “Investing in Manufacturing Communities” initiative. of the White House. She has testified before Congress and served as a US delegate to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, serving as Vice Chair of the Rural Development Task Force. Salerno has always been active in civic life and is a former Democratic U.S. Congressional candidate for the 32n/a Neighborhood in Texas. Salerno has a long history of defending and protecting vulnerable populations. As a young attorney in rural Texas, Salerno was regularly named as the court-appointed ad litem for vulnerable and Spanish-speaking Texans. Salerno holds a BA in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, an MA in Criminal Justice from the University of North Texas and a JD from Southern Methodist University and is a graduate of the Harvard University’s Executive Leadership Program.