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News Release

FPAC Undersecretary Visits New Hampshire

Jeremy J. Fowler, Public Affairs Specialist, NRCS, N.H.

A group of people stand examining a field that was planted over with cover crops using a no-till method to increase nutrient retention in the soil. The man at the center is the Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation from the USDA.

DOVER, NH, Oct. 8, 2019 – Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC) Bill Northey made his first official visit to New Hampshire Monday, October 7, 2019 to meet with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) staff from the New Hampshire FPAC offices, tour local farms, and speak with producers.

The day-long trip included a tour of four local agricultural producers and a visit with the New Hampshire FPAC personnel from the Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and Rural Development (RD) staff based in the state. The visit came during peak harvest season for many New Hampshire farms.

During the first stop of his tour of local farms, Northey visited Contoocook Creamery at Bohanan Farm in Contoocook, where he spoke with Jamie Robertson, operator of the farm, and his three sons on how the FPAC offices, programs, and technical resources offered through NRCS and FSA have augmented his farm production and capabilities.

Contoocook Creamery was among the four farms featured on series ‘The American Farm,’ which aired on the History Channel this spring. The series focused on the difficulties small farms faced in handing their businesses to the next generation. The business has been exploring and utilizing FPAC programs in order to make that undertaking less difficult as they transition the enterprise to the fifth generation.

“As a farmer from Iowa myself,” said Northey, “I like to get out and talk to those impacted by my mission.” I like to get out and see what is really benefiting the producers and where the friction points are, he said.

Northey, who heads the FPAC mission area of USDA, then visited the NRCS Field Office in Concord to speak with FPAC staff at all levels. Addressing the staff, he tried to understand how current policies impact their mission and used the opportunity to gain insight to see where there would be room for improvement.

The farm visits continued with a tour of Carter Hill Orchard in Concord, followed by the Taylor Brothers Farm in Meriden, and wrapped up with a visit to the Poverty Lane Orchard in Lebanon.

The USDA established the new Farm Production and Conservation mission area in 2017, which grouped the three agencies that service farmers – FSA, NRCS, and RMA – in one mission area.

The FPAC was a reorganization of previous USDA services into one single mission area within the department with the undertaking of customer focus and helping agricultural producers connect with programs available to them.