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Singer settles in as director of FSA

Monday, December 24, 2007

Jared Singer is starting to settle into his job as the new executive director of Saline County's Farm Service Agency (FSA), which he began on Nov. 13.

"I'm still taking everything in and assessing what is going on and what we are working on," he said.

However, he said he is enjoying his new job and working with the FSA office staff.

"It is just a great group of people here, very good to work with, very knowledgeable," he said. "I have really enjoyed it so far and I'm confident I will continue to enjoy working with them. They are just a really great bunch."

Singer came to the office after serving as a county executive director for Wisconsin's Pepin County FSA. He replaced long time director Everette Wood, who left Sept. 15 after accepting a position as Chief of the Price Support Section in the Missouri State Farm Service Agency office in Columbia.

Singer was raised on his family's farm in Pettis County near Green Ridge, and actually worked in the Saline County office in 1999 in the GIS digitizing lab, before accepting an opportunity to work in the state FSA office in Columbia.

After graduating from the University of Missouri with an Agriculture Economics degree in 2003, he continued working in the Columbia office, until he was offered the opportunity in the Wisconsin FSA in October of 2003.

"I wasn't looking to leave Missouri, I enjoyed working for the state agency here. It is just the way it worked out," he said. "I was a CED up there, and really enjoyed it."

However he said he also couldn't pass up the opportunity to return to Missouri and be closer to "home."

"Saline County is such a great agricultural county," he added.

His number one goal for the agency is customer service and "making sure we are delivering all of our programs in the best way that we possibly can."

"I think this office has a pretty good reputation of doing that, so the main goal is just to continue that," he said.

He is also trying to meet the producers and people involved in the agricultural business community.

"That way, if anybody does have any questions or issues or can utilize FSA's assistance in anyway, they will know who I am and feel comfortable contacting me," he said.

He is also looking forward to participating in the Women in Agriculture Conference in Marshall on March 14, 2008, as well as the annual Ag Day celebration.

"Saline is such a great ag county and has a lot of great activities like that going on, so I think that is really exciting," he said.

Implementing the 2007 farm bill, which is yet to be passed, may be among the challenges the office will face in the future.

"That will certainly be a challenge to implement the new bill, but it is a challenge that I think FSA has always been able to meet in the past," Singer said.

He said it would also depend on what kind of bill is passed. The 2002 bill was a pretty "time-consuming bill" to implement.

However as far as timing is concerned, Singer said the new farm bill would give him an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of the bill's implementation in the county.

"It will be a great opportunity to meet a lot of the producers that will be coming through and get my name and face out there," he said.

The county in Wisconsin where Singer previously worked is somewhat different than Saline County as far as agriculture is concerned, as they have several dairy producers, raise more forage and cut more of the corn for silage. However, he said there were more similarities than differences.

"I found just in general there were a lot of small differences, even just culturally, but when you got right down to it, it was still really great people just trying to raise their families and make ends meet," he said.

Saline County is larger, and implements almost all of the programs FSA offers, which isn't the case in all counties.

"Saline County is big enough and has enough different agriculture that we have most of the programs here," he said. "That is sometimes a challenge in itself, just to keep up with more," he said.

However, because of the knowledgeable staff, it doesn't seem to be a problem.

"The staff here is so good. They are very knowledgeable and professional in what they do, so it works out pretty well," Singer said.

Singer, who is getting settled in his new Marshall home, is engaged to be married in June 2008.

Contact Marcia Gorrell at marshallag@socket.net

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