Goertz appointed Wyo FSA Director
Slater – In a decision made by the Obama administration in early July, Gregor Goertz of Slater has been named the new State Executive Director for Wyoming’s Farm Service Agency (FSA).
Goertz, an organic wheat and natural beef producer in Platte County, says the appointment will be a major change to his and his operation’s everyday life. With the state FSA office in Casper, Goertz says he plans on commuting some and he also hopes travel the state to get a good handle on how agriculture is doing and how the agency is serving the industry.
“My goal is to make sure the producers of Wyoming are served in a friendly atmosphere and receive all the benefits of the programs passed by Congress that are available to them,” he explains.
FSA, which is overseen by USDA, works to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural Americans. Some of the agency’s efforts include facilitating income support, disaster assistance and conservation programs, providing operating loans for the procurement of farm equipment, seed and fertilizer, as well as offering ownership loans to help new and veteran producers purchase a farm.
Goertz says he sees the lack of an adequate budget to adequately staff and administer programs as one of the biggest challenges to FSA. Goertz’s main responsibility will be to oversee the state office and give direction and guidance to county committees.
“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 in a statement after the announcement of appointees.
Goertz already served on the Wyoming FSA State Executive Committee from 1995 through 2004 under both President Clinton and President Bush. He served a term as Platte County Commissioner from 1987 through 1990, as well as several other community boards, including Chairman of the Slater Wind Association and the Wyoming Wheat Growers Board of Directors.
“I’m also involved in renewable energy and our family owns and direct-markets Wyoming Pure Natural Beef, so I have some idea of the requirements of value-added and sustainable agriculture,” says Goertz. “I feel that, being a producer with those experiences, I will be sensitive to the needs and challenges faced by producers.”
His position as State Executive Director will also require trips to Washington, D.C. “In those trips I’ll have the opportunity to work with the headquarters staff and let them know how things work in the field and how they affect the producers. Being a producer, I have a first-hand knowledge of that,” he says.
Goertz’s son Jason Goertz has been full-time on the family operation, and he will take over responsibility for the day-to-day operations while Goertz is away. Goertz plans to begin in his new position Aug. 10, following wheat harvest, but he will be in communication with the state office until then.
In addition to FSA State Executive Director, the administration appointed State Directors for USDA’s Rural Development program. Darrel Carruth of Casper, who retired after 31 years with Rural Development, which was previously the Farmers Home Administration, was appointed to lead Wyoming’s agency.
Currently Carruth and his wife own a food concession business and travel to various fairs, festivals, and tournaments. Carruth serves on the Casper College Alumni Association Board, of which he was President from 2005 through 2007.
“These individuals will be important advocates on behalf of rural communities in states throughout the country and help administer the valuable programs and services provided by the USDA that can enhance their economic success,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a statement.
USDA’s Rural Development administers and manages over 40 housing, business, and community infrastructure and facility programs as laid out by Congress through a network of 6,100 employees located in 500 national, state and local offices. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of over $114 billion in loans and loan guarantees.
Christy Hemken is assistant editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.