On January 13, 2022, President Biden announced his intent to appoint additional leaders to serve as United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Directors, including the Virginia position.
The USDA’s FSA implements agricultural policy, administers credit and loan programs, and manages conservation, commodity, disaster and farm marketing programs in each U.S. State. Its mission is to equitably serve all farmers, ranchers and agricultural partners through the delivery of effective, efficient agricultural programs for all Americans. State Executive Directors oversee this work, ensuring the needs of local constituents are met and that USDA resources are distributed equitably and fairly.
Ronald Howell has been named as USDA FSA State Executive Director for Virginia. Howell comes to this new position with more than 12 years of professional experience in higher education, state and federal government. In summer 2018, he began his tenure as the Director of Operations and Management in the College of Agriculture at Virginia State University. In this capacity, he oversees day-to-day operations of the College and the University’s Farm. He also carries an administrative appointment in the Department of Agriculture and serves as a faculty instructor, teaching courses in agriculture education and mechanization.
Previously, Howell served as the Special Assistant/Advisor for Strategic Partnerships and Initiatives to the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry, in the Office of Virginia Governors McAuliffe and Northam, respectively. Across the Commonwealth, he worked to strengthen outreach efforts as well as minority and limited resourced producers’ participation in USDA and state-based agricultural and conservation programs. Additionally, he provided recommendations for the Virginia Farm Business Development Program (VFBD) and the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Program.
“I am thankful to have the opportunity to return to USDA to serve as FSA State Executive Director in Virginia. Agriculture is Virginia’s number one industry, and I am committed to advancing the agency’s mission at the state level and ensuring the voice of every customer that depends on programs and services provided by FSA is heard,” Howell said in a statement. “There are tremendous opportunities ahead to open doors of access and to build partnerships with Virginia Farm Bureau and other ag-based organizations to advocate for the wonderful men and women responsible for providing the food, fuel, feed, and fiber supply for our great nation and globally!”
Howell received his B.S. in Agriculture Business and Economics from Virginia State University in 2009 and earned a Master’s degree from Virginia Tech in Agricultural and Life Sciences in 2012. In 2021, he received his doctorate degree in P-20 Education and Community Leadership with a focus in Agriculture Education from Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky. He resides in Spring Grove, (Surry Co.) Virginia.
Virginia Farm Bureau looks forward to working with Mr. Howell to support and promote Virginia agriculture and farmers.