Plate to Politics Podcast: Lead Your USDA Part One

This episode is the first part of a two-part series on Lead Your USDA. In this episode, Sarah Campbell, FPAC Customer Experience Specialist at Farm Service Agency, and Esther Lin, National Outreach Specialist at Farm Service Agency share what the USDA is and how you can make your voice heard as a farmer. We'll go over different nonpartisan leadership opportunities available in USDA.

The information presented in this podcast is for informational purposes only, and does not represent an endorsement of any particular candidate or of the Plate to Politics program.

You can download the slides mentioned in this podcast at the button below.

Non-partisan USDA Leadership Opportunities:

  • USDA Advisory Committees: Federal Advisory Committees are formally established by Federal Departments so that the public can provide information and advice on a broad range of issues affecting federal policies and programs. Announcements regarding vacancies and meetings are published in the Federal Register. You can also submit your application for consideration as appointments to committees expire. Committees are managed by the USDA White House Liaison Office. You can nominate yourself!

  • Research and Promotion Boards: Research & Promotion (R&P) programs, also known as checkoff programs, authorized by Congress, are requested, funded, and driven by industry. The programs establish a framework to pool resources to develop new markets, strengthen existing markets, and conduct important research and promotion activities. Board members work with and network stakeholders and other industry members. The board members are appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture

  • Soil and Water Conservation Districts: NRCS Soil and Water Conservation Districts are local committees that increase public awareness and participation in resource conservation. They help direct local programs (including cost share programs) and administer state and federal programs, as well as represent cooperators, speak for the land, document the needs of landowners and users and develop plans for resource conservation.

  • FSA County Committees: FSA County Office Committees (COC) help administer and oversee FSA programs that make a difference for farmers and ranchers in your community. COCs have important duties such as hiring County Executive Directors (CED), representing local farmers, providing agricultural guidance and insight to county office staff, and assisting with outreach to farmers. More than 7,000 farmers serve on COCs. Elections happen locally every year and elected members serve three year terms in their Local Administrative Area (LAA).

  • USDA Grant Review Committees: USDA needs members of the public with subject matter expertise to serve on grant review committees to help determine grant awards and funding priorities. The quality of the review process is dependent on having both knowledgeable and diverse review panels. Learn more about being grant reviewer at National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.

  • SCORE Mentorship: USDA and SCORE connect farmers, ranchers, and rural

    entrepreneurs with mentorship and business planning resources. Learn more about mentorships here.

In Lead Your USDA Part Two we’ll hear from women about their experiences serving as leaders in USDA.

Thanks to Rachel’s Network for sponsoring the Plate to Politics podcast, allowing us to get leadership training to more women in our network.

The theme music for our podcast is Song for Riemann by Expendable Friend.

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