President Biden Announces Key Regional Appointments for USDA
WASHINGTON – Today, President Joe Biden appointed the following individuals to serve in key regional leadership roles at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA):
- Ronald Guidry, Jr., USDA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency, Louisiana
- Maureen Wicks, USDA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency, Montana
- Mark Gibbons, USDA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency, Utah
- Christy Davis, USDA State Director, Rural Development, Kansas
- Lillian Salerno, USDA State Director, Rural Development, Texas
These regional appointees will be critical to the President’s efforts to rebuild communities most impacted by the pandemic, the economic recovery, and climate change. They bring deep expertise in their issue areas as well as critical relationships with federal, state, tribal, and local leaders. And, consistent with the President’s commitment to building an administration that looks like America, these regional appointees represent the diversity of America and the communities they serve.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (USDA)
The USDA’s Farm Service Agency 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.
USDA’s Rural Development mission area is committed to helping improve the economy and quality of life in rural America. State Directors lead offices that offer grants, loans, and loan guarantees to help create jobs and support economic development and essential services.
Ronald Guidry, Jr., USDA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency, Louisiana
Ronald C. Guidry, Jr. is a native of New Orleans and a proud alumnus of St. Augustine High School and Dillard University, from which he holds a degree in Communications. In his career, Guidry has established vital relationships with the community at large as well as the agricultural community both locally and internationally.
Since 2018, Guidry has served as the Advisor for the USDA Farm Service Agency County Committee, which serves multiple parishes across southeastern Louisiana. As Committee Advisor, Guidry has been charged with carrying out farm service agency programs, providing diverse viewpoints, and making informed policy decisions to ensure grassroots input and local administration of federal farm programs. He is also the owner and operator of Farm Dat, a USDA Class B certified farm, where he is responsible for overall operations including management, marketing, personnel, finances, and customer service/customer relations. While he is primarily focused on the purchasing, raising, and selling of farm animals, he consistently establishes and maintains community relationships with others from varied socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds to ensure farm sustainability.
Maureen Wicks, USDA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency, Montana
Maureen “Morb” Wicks, a dryland wheat farmer from Liberty County, Montana, has been working for Montana farmers for more than 30 years. From 1985-1995, Wicks was heavily involved in WIFE (Women Involved in Farm Economics), including serving as the Hi-Line Chapter President and helping lead several lobbying trips to Washington, D.C. to champion family farm policy issues. In 1998, Wicks was the first female elected to the Liberty County Farm Services Administration, where she served for 16 years.
In 2014, Wicks was elected to serve as a Liberty County Commissioner and was re-elected in 2021. During her time as a Commissioner, Wicks served on the Montana Association of Counties Agriculture Committee, Liberty County Mental Health Advisory Board, and The Liberty County Council on Aging. Wicks additionally has served on the Tiber County Water Board, the Bear Paw Development Board, and the Liberty Medical Center Board. Wicks is a member of Montana Grain Growers and the Montana Farmer’s Union. She holds a B.A. in Political Science and Government from Montana State University and also taught Government/Social Studies for more than 15 years in both rural and urban school districts in Montana.
Mark Gibbons, USDA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency, Utah
Mark Gibbons is a third-generation dairy farmer from Lewiston, Utah. He has spent his life there on the farm and now the next generation is running the operation; they milk 700 cows and farm 1200 acres of ground. Gibbons has served as Utah State Farm Service Agency Executive Director, President of the Utah Farmers Union, President of the Dairy Producers of Utah, President of the Governors Agriculture Advisory Board, Vice President of the Western States Dairy Producers Trade Association, Utah State FFA Foundation Board member, and on various additional farm-related committees. He resides in Lewiston with his wife, Shanna. They have three sons and daughters-in-law and eleven grandchildren.
Christy Davis, USDA State Director, Rural Development, Kansas
Christy Cauble Davis is a fifth-generation Kansan who has dedicated her career to strengthening Kansas communities. The projects and programs Davis has facilitated statewide have generated billions of dollars in economic impact. She has served as Legislative Chair for the Kansas Downtown Development Association and on the boards of the Chase County Chamber of Commerce, Council Grove/Morris County Hospital Foundation, Preservation Action, and National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers. After serving as a local and state government executive and developing a private consulting business, Davis worked to “heighten appreciation and knowledge of the Flint Hills tallgrass prairie” as Executive Director of Symphony in the Flint Hills.
David, her husband Luke, and their 10-year-old son Jack live in Chase County. In 2016, they adapted a historic building in Cottonwood Falls into an award-winning laundromat. In 2019, they spurred downtown revitalization in Council Grove by rehabilitating a historic bank building to create much-needed housing and space for a new bookstore. Davis likes to participate in community activities, hike, swim, and read.
Lillian Salerno, USDA State Director, Rural Development, Texas
Lillian Salerno has over two decades of experience leading teams in government and industry. Salerno served six years as an official for the Obama-Biden Administration, first as the Rural Business Administrator and later as Deputy Undersecretary for Rural Development at the United States Department of Agriculture. She was a member of the White House Rural Council where she provided an unwavering voice for rural Americans. As Deputy Undersecretary for USDA, Salerno managed both political and career federal workers and created diverse internal boards and committees. She also served on the Executive Resource Board, which included issues surrounding cybersecurity, executive compensation, and resource management. In addition, Salerno led the Hispanic Women Farmers National Claims Team.
Salerno has led and served on numerous White House working groups including the Interagency Task Force focused on the rural opioid epidemic as well as the White House National Economic Council “Investing in Manufacturing Communities” initiative. She has testified before Congress and served as the U.S. delegate to the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, serving as Vice Chair for the Working Party on Rural Development. Salerno has always played an active part in civic life and is a former U.S. Democratic Congressional candidate for the 32nd District in Texas. Salerno has a long history advocating for and protecting vulnerable populations. As a young attorney in rural Texas, Salerno was regularly designated as the court-appointed ad litem for vulnerable and Spanish-speaking Texans. Salerno holds a B.A. in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, an M.A. in Criminal Justice from the University of North Texas, and a J.D. from Southern Methodist University and is a graduate of the Executive Leadership Program from Harvard University.