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Ag Leadership Institute members appointed to USDA committee - Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced the appointment of members to an advisory committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers on August 12. Out of the 11 appointees, two are members of the SU Ag Center's Small Farmer Agricultural Leadership Institute. Luciano Alvarado of North Carolina is a graduate of the second class and Frances Benton Gibson of South Carolina is a member of the Institute's third class.

"One of the primary goals of the Leadership Institute is to develop leaders and advocates for the small farm community, and I am of the opinion that both of these individuals will be excellent representatives," said Dawn Mellion-Patin, Agricultural Specialist and Institute program director.

The Committee will advise the secretary on ways to develop programs to provide coordinated assistance to beginning farmers and ranchers while maximizing new farming and ranching opportunities. They will also work to enhance and expand federal-state partnerships to provide financing for beginning farmers and ranchers.

"Beginning farmers are a key to 21st-century agriculture and I look forward to working with this committee to help ensure that," Vilsack said. "These new agricultural entrepreneurs are the cornerstone to a vibrant rural America and to the future of all of agriculture. I will look to this committee to provide guidance to me as we prepare recommendations for the 2012 Farm bill."

The new charter for the committee was issued on November 25, 1998, and is renewed every two years. By law, the Committee is allowed to consist of no more than 20 members and no fewer than 14. The new 19-member Committee will consist of 8 incumbents and 11 new members. Members serve a two-year term, and can be reappointed for up to six consecutive years.