On April 22, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced the appointment of Doug Caruso as Administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency.
The FSA administers and manages farm commodity, credit, conservation, disaster and loan programs through a network of federal, state and county offices. These programs are designed help producers manage their business risks and improve the stability and strength of the domestic agricultural economy.
"As FSA State Executive Director in Wisconsin for 8 years, Doug Caruso compiled an impressive record of improving client services and enhancing outreach to historically underserved farmers," said Vilsack. "He is the right choice to serve America's farmers, ranchers, rural landowners and communities that benefit from FSA's services and to implement USDA's goals of providing a safety-net for small and mid-sized farmers while promoting a sustainable, safe, sufficient and nutritious food supply."
Caruso returns to USDA after working as CEO of Wisconsin Farmers Union Specialty Cheese, a cheese manufacturing startup and producer of award-winning Blue and Gorgonzola products that he helped develop into a profitable operation with expanded market share. From 1993 to 2001, Caruso was at USDA as State Executive Director of FSA in Wisconsin, which served approximately 100,000 farmers and rural landowners through a network of sixty county offices. From 1989 to 1993, he worked as State Director for United States Senator Herb Kohl (D-Wisconsin) and before that as general manager and communications director for the nation's sixth largest farmer-owned milk marketing cooperative.
While at FSA in Wisconsin, Caruso participated in multi-agency USDA initiatives and worked on the initial implementation of the Milk Income Loss Contract payment program in 2000. He led his state to develop labor and client service practices that were adopted by other states and the national office, and limited loan delinquencies to among the lowest in the nation. During his tenure at FSA, Caruso engaged producers of color in the design and delivery of an employee training program to enhance outreach to historically underserved farmers. In 2000, he was honored by FSA as "Outstanding State Executive Director" for "exemplary leadership, superior management skills, and significant contributions to the betterment of the Farm Service Agency at all levels."
Caruso is a member of the USDA/USTR Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee on Dairy and of the International Dairy Committee. He resides in Middleton, Wis., with his wife Judy, an information technology executive at the University of Wisconsin--Madison. They have two children: Anthony, an accountant, and Emily, a chemist.
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