BOZEMAN - After 15 years of serving Montana farmers and ranchers, Bruce Nelson, State Executive Director of United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) has retired effective Dec. 31, 2016.

Montana FSA: USDA Farm Service Agency State Executive Director for Montana Retires

BOZEMAN - After 15 years of serving Montana farmers and ranchers, Bruce Nelson, State Executive Director of United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) has retired effective Dec. 31, 2016.

Nelson, 65, has served as state executive director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency in Montana for seven and half years in President Barack Obama’s Administration and seven and a half years in the President Bill Clinton Administration. As SED, Nelson oversaw FSA and the 48 FSA service center offices across Montana. In 2011, Nelson was appointed as administrator of Farm Service Agency in Washington DC and served in the national position until 2012 when he returned to serve as state executive director of Farm Service Agency in Montana.  FSA assists farmers and ranchers with agricultural credit, stabilizing income, conserving land and recovering from natural disasters.

In November 2015, Nelson was awarded the Abraham Lincoln Honor Awards for Diversity, Inclusion, and Outreach for his leadership in expanding program delivery with Montana tribes and on the state’s seven Indian reservations. The Honor’s Award is the highest honor within USDA. In 2000, Nelson received the Distinguished Service Award from FSA Administrator in recognition of seven years of outstanding service to the community, the agency and USDA. He was also honored by Intertribal Agriculture Council for his leadership in providing Indian producers the opportunity to participate in FSA programs. In 1995, Nelson received the Secretary’s Honors Award for his leadership in USDA outreach efforts in Montana.

“Bruce Nelson is a one of a kind leader who worked tirelessly for all Montana and American agricultural producers as State Executive Director and Administrator of USDA Farm Service Agency,” Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Michael Scuse said of Nelson’s retirement. “On behalf of USDA, I want to thank Bruce for his dedicated public service and to wish him the very best in his retirement.”

Bruce is a fourth generation Montana wheat farmer, and a Fort Benton native. He was raised on the Fort Benton farm his grandparents homesteaded and actively farmed on the family homestead from 1981 to 1991. Nelson received a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Montana.

Nelson’s background includes over 30 years of professional work with federal, state, and private organizations. He served as administrative assistant to Governor Tom Judge from 1975-1978 and as chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Pat Williams from 1979-1980. He was originally appointed to head the Farm Service Agency in Montana by the Clinton administration in 1993 after serving as chairman of the Montana Democratic Party from 1983 to 1991. Nelson worked as development project manager for Zoot Enterprises from 2001-2004. He subsequently served as Governor Schweitzer’s chief of staff from 2005-2009. In 2009, Nelson was appointed by the Obama administration to his prior position as state executive director of Farm Service Agency. In 2011, Nelson was appointed as administrator of Farm Service Agency in Washington DC and served in the position until 2012 when he returned to serve as state executive director of Farm Service Agency in Montana.  He resigned his position effective Dec. 31, 2016.

Amy Webbink, Chief Administrative Officer for FSA, will be acting state executive director until the appointment is made to that position.

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