Durbin: President Names Callahan and Giamanco for USDA Positions in Illinois

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) today announced that President Obama has officially named Colleen Callahan Burns of Kickapoo, Illinois for State Director of Rural Development and Scherrie V. Giamanco of Mt. Vernon, Illinois for State Executive Director of the Farm Service Agency (FSA). Neither appointment requires Senate confirmation and both are expected to assume their new duties in early July.


“Colleen Callahan Burns has been a respected voice for Illinois agriculture for more than 30 years,” said Durbin. “She is an award winning farm broadcaster who remains active in animal agriculture and in her community. I was proud to recommend her to the Secretary of Agriculture in February and I look forward to working with her in her new capacity.”


Rural Development provides financial assistance through guaranteed loans, direct loans and some grant funds to individuals, public bodies, nonprofits, Native American tribes, and cooperatives in rural areas. Rural Development State Directors provide mission area wide leadership at the state level to the network of nearly 500 field offices in USDA Service Centers. State Directors coordinate with many local, regional, state and other federal agencies and groups to help provide a starting point to address business, community or housing needs. State Directors are responsible for delivering Rural Housing Service programs; most of the Rural Business – Cooperative Service programs; the Water and Wastewater Disposal Program of the Rural Utilities Service; and outreach and assistance on programs delivered directly from national headquarters.


“Scherrie Giamanco has worked in the Farm Services Agency Illinois State office for more than 15 years,” said Durbin. Her lifelong experience – more than 35 years in agriculture and rural development related fields – in many facets of Illinois agriculture will allow her to be an effective leader within the Department of Agriculture.”


The FSA aims to stabilize farm income, help farmers conserve land and water resources, provide credit to new or disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, and help farm operations recover from the effects of disaster. The FSA uses a unique system under which federal farm programs are administered locally – a grassroots approach gives farmers a much-needed say in how Federal actions affect their communities and their individual operations. The State Executive Director serves as a top representative of the Administrator and is responsible for planning, implementing and operating FSA stabilization, conservation, farm loan, environmental, and emergency assistance programs within the assigned State. State Executive Directors provide and direct the overall administrative and management activities for the State and county offices in cooperation and participation with the FSA functional management divisions and offices.