U.S. Senators Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor today applauded the announcement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that the Obama Administration has selected Lawrence McCullough as USDA Rural Development State Director for Arkansas and Linda Newkirk as USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Director for Arkansas. McCullough will be the first African American and Newkirk the first female to serve in their respective positions.
I was pleased to recommend these two experienced veterans of USDA programs to President Obama and I am confident the people of Arkansas will continue to be well served under their leadership. I have worked with Mr. McCullough and Ms. Newkirk throughout my career in public service and I have been impressed by their commitment to the people they serve and their understanding of USDA programs that they will administer. I wish them well and look forward to working with them to enhance opportunities in our state, said Lincoln.
Mr. McCullough and Ms. Newkirk have served Arkansas' farmers and rural communities for more than three decades with great integrity, knowledge and skill, Pryor said. Their continued leadership will serve our rural communities well as they execute and enhance critical USDA programs.
McCullough has more than 37 years of experience working with USDA Rural Development in Arkansas. He served as the Director of Single Family Housing and as Assistant to the State Director of the Farmers Home Administration and as an Area Director of the Farmers Home Administration. He received a bachelor's degree in agriculture education from the University of Pine Bluff and is a member of the Governor's Task Force on Supported Housing and the Arkansas Weatherization Policy Advisory Council.
Newkirk has more than 31 years of experience with FSA, where she currently serves as agricultural program specialist, a position she has held since 1991. Newkirk previously served FSA as the state appeals coordinator and as a program assistant in price support. She has trained, instructed, and advised county office employees on appeals, livestock assistance, wetlands, relief provisions, and payment limitation training.
USDA Rural Development works to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for all rural Americans by eliminating substandard housing and helping rural communities build or improve community facilities, such as schools, health clinics and fire stations. In a typical year, Rural Development programs create or preserve more than 150,000 rural jobs across the nation, enable 40,000 to 50,000 rural Americans to buy homes, and help 450,000 low-income rural people rent apartments or other housing.
FSA serves farmers, ranchers, and agricultural partners through the delivery of effective, efficient agricultural programs for all Americans. Their vision is to achieve a market-oriented, economically and environmentally sound American agriculture system that delivers an abundant, safe, and affordable food and fiber supply while sustaining quality agricultural communities.