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USDA also swears in new key administrator posts at FAS, RHS, RUS and RBS.
May 3, 2018
The U.S. Department of Agriculture welcomed Martin Barbre as the new Risk Management Agency (RMA) administrator during a ceremony held April 30. He was officially sworn in by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue at USDA headquarters in Washington, D.C.
"I'm excited to be here," Barbre said prior to the ceremony. "Acting administrator Heather Manzano, RMA's leaders and especially employees, have done an outstanding job ensuring our country's producers were taken care of through many challenges this past year. We will build on the achievements of RMA's dedicated teams and continue improving services for our customers."
Barbre brings a wealth of experience from the world of agriculture. He is the owner and operator of Chestin Farms, which grows 6,000 acres of corn, soybeans, wheat and grain sorghum. He is a former president of the National Corn Growers Assn. (NCGA), a member of the Illinois Corn Growers Assn. and was appointed by Perdue to be a member of USDA's Illinois Farm Service Agency State Committee until his appointment as RMA administrator.
Members of RMA had the opportunity to meet the new administrator on Tuesday at a meet-and-greet held in Barbre's office in Washington, where he talked about how important federal crop insurance is to families in rural America.
"My son had been farming for eight or nine years when severe drought hit in 2012. Day after day, he was operating the combine and seeing little in return. I could see the anxiety he was going through," Barbre explained. "When the adjuster showed him that federal crop insurance would cover much of his losses from the drought, it took a big weight off his shoulders. I know how vital RMA's mission is to the people we serve. That's why I'm here."
“Martin Barbre has been a longtime advocate for farmers, having dedicated decades of his life to serve his fellow farmers as a volunteer leader. We congratulate him on this well-deserved selection,” NCGA president Kevin Skunes said. “His passion for agriculture is apparent to all who meet him. He will bring the farmers’ perspective to his leadership in this important position.”
On Monday, Perdue also swore in Ken Isley as Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) administrator, Joel Baxley as Rural Housing Service (RHS) administrator, Ken Johnson as Rural Utilities Service (RUS) administrator and Bette Brand as Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBS) administrator.
As FSA administrator, Isley will oversee the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development program that help build and maintain overseas markets for U.S. agriculture. Isley spent nearly three decades at DowDuPont, where he most recently served as special adviser for Corteva Agriscience, the agriculture division of DowDuPont.
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