USDA Farm Service Agency Administrator Juan M. Garcia recently announced the appointment of New Mexico native Molly Manzanares as the new State Executive Director for New Mexico.
Manzanares will oversee all aspects of federal farm program delivery for an agency that employs nearly 1,700 people. FSA annually issues more than $100 million in commodity, conservation, disaster and credit benefits to farmers and ranchers across the nation.
Manzanares has served as a member of the New Mexico Farm Service Agency State Committee since September of 2001 and has been involved in agriculture all her life. She grew up in a cattle ranching family. In addition to a mother-cow herd, the family ran stocker cattle seasonally in the high country near Chama, New Mexico. Since 1998, she has been a licensed EMT-I and Instructor/Coordinator, volunteering with La Clinica del Pueblo and working for the Jicarilla Apache Nation in that capacity.
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After attending New Mexico State University and University of New Mexico, she married Antonio J. Manzanares, and they started their own sheep ranching operation. Today they operate one of the last remaining herded bands in the state of New Mexico. The Manzanares' raised four children on their ranch.
Garcia said FSA is challenged by many new programs and changes in the new farm program, but says the Agency has been making adjustments and incorporating new programs into the FSA system as quickly as possible.
Manzanares is charged with administering those changes and providing new programs designed to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural New Mexicans. Efforts will include facilitating income support, disaster assistance and conservation programs; providing operating loans for the procurement of farm equipment, seed and fertilizer; and offering ownership loans to help new and veteran producers purchase farms.
FSA also works to procure various commodities to benefit low-income families through domestic food assistance programs.
Manzanares, who assumes her duties immediately, faces major changes and new programs. The new farm law repeals programs that existed, continues some programs with modifications, and authorizes new programs, most of which are now authorized and funded through 2018.
The Direct and Counter-Cyclical Program and the Average Crop Revenue Election program were repealed and two new programs established: Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC). The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), USDA’s largest conservation program, continues through 2018 as well with an annually decreasing enrolled acreage cap. The contract portion of the Grassland Reserve Program enrollment has been merged with CRP.
FSA state directors are charged with administering Farm Service Agency programs and assistance and Garcia says he is confident Manzanares will continue to serve New Mexico agriculture with the same dedication she has demonstrated through the