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Matt Russell, state food policy project coordinator at Drake University Law School, recently was appointed to the Iowa Farm Services Agency (FSA) Committee under the Obama administration.
The administration made the announcement today and is in the process of selecting an FSA committee in each state. Russell is one of five members appointed to the Iowa committee.
The committee members oversee the activities of the agency, which is an outgrowth of the United States Department of Agriculture. The committee’s mission is to:
- Carry out the state agricultural conservation programs
- Resolve appeals from the agriculture community
- Help to keep producers informed about FSA programs
“We at Drake are very proud Matt Russell has been selected for this important USDA committee,” said Neil Hamilton, Drake professor of law and director of the Law School’s Agricultural Law Center.
“He will bring the voices of Iowa’s young farmers and landowners to the work of the FSA,” Hamilton added. “He is a perfect example of the new farmers our state needs who are working to expand the vitality and diversity of Iowa’s rural economy.”
The FSA aims to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural Americans by:
- Facilitating income support, disaster assistance and conservation programs
- Providing operating loans for the procurement of farm equipment, seed and fertilizer
- Offering ownership loans to help new and veteran producers purchase farms
- Providing various commodities to benefit low-income families through domestic food assistance programs
Russell will continue to work as state food policy coordinator at Drake. His projects include, institutional purchasing and research into Iowa’s evolving pork industry, Farm-to-School programs and the nexus healthy eating and regional food systems.
He coordinates the Greater Des Moines Buy Fresh Buy Local campaign and works with farms, businesses, government agencies and nonprofit groups to develop opportunities for Iowa-grown foods.
In addition, Russell and a partner operate Coyote Run Farm near Lacona, Iowa, and market fresh produce, eggs and meat at farmers’ markets and other local Iowa outlets.
He also serves on the board of the Iowa Network for Community Agriculture and on the Marion County Development Commission.
Russell grew up on an Iowa family farm, received his bachelor’s degree from Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, and studied for the Catholic Diocese of Des Moines at Mundelein Seminary in Illinois. He earned an M.S. in Rural Sociology from Iowa State University, with a concentration in community food systems.