Biden Appoints Vermont Farm Organization Veteran John Roberts, Recommended By Leahy, As Head Of The Farm Service Agency In Vermont

(THURSDAY, Jan. 20, 2022) – President Biden Thursday announced that he is appointing John Roberts as Executive Director of the Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Vermont.  Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) had recommended Roberts for the position.

Leahy said he was pleased by the appointment:  “I’ve known John for many years.  He has the qualifications and experience to lead the Farm Service Agency at a critical time for our state when there is much to be done.  As with other areas of the economy, the pandemic has created a great deal of uncertainty and disruption in Vermont’s food system and farm economy. Our farmers and rural communities need the vital services that FSA provides, and John is the right person to lead that effort.”

Leahy, Vermont’s senior U.S. Senator, also is the senior-most member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and the panel’s former chair, currently chairs the powerful Appropriations Committee, and is the Senate’s President Pro Tempore.

Roberts said:  “It is an honor and privilege to accept the appointment as Vermont’s State Executive Director of USDA Farm Service Agency.  I appreciate the confidence that President Biden’s administration has shown in me.  I would also like to thank Senator Leahy for recommending me for this position.  I hope to emulate the Senator’s example of service to the people of Vermont in my actions.  It will be a pleasure to continue my long time commitment to Vermont, its agriculture and rural communities.”

FSA’s staff assist farmers with loans and insurance programs such as the Dairy Margin Coverage program, along with securing an organic certification, accessing conservation and environment programs, and managing their business.

Leahy added:  “I would like to thank Lana Walden, who has served as the acting state director, and the entire FSA staff for their work this past year, particularly getting assistance to Vermont farmers to help offset the challenges of the COVID pandemic.”

Roberts is currently the executive director of the Champlain Valley Farmer Coalition (CVFC) a farmer-led organization working on environmental practices on farms and supporting Vermont’s farm economy. 

Born and raised in England, Roberts came to Vermont to work with the famous brown Swiss dairy herd at Shelburne Farms in his 20s and decided to stay.  Roberts operated a small dairy with his wife in Cornwall, Vt.

John has previously served as the Chair of the USDA-FSA State Committee, making him familiar with the office that he will now oversee.  In addition to serving on this town select board, he was also a delegate in the Agri-Mark cooperative and has served on the Vermont Water Resources board, the Vermont Housing Conservation Board, and on the Vermont Land Trust board. 

Prior to accepting the position with CVFC, Roberts worked with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Farms and Markets focusing on assisting small farms with their water quality stewardship. 

# # # # #