Hoeven: Clare Carlson Named as Rural Development State Director, Brad Thykeson as FSA State Director

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee and a member of the Agriculture Committee, today issued the following statement after the following key positions were filled for North Dakota at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA):

  • Clare Carlson as North Dakota State Director for Rural Development (RD) – Carlson previously served in this role for eight years during the Bush Administration. He has served as agriculture adviser to Governors Ed Schafer and Hoeven and has a farming interest in NW Minnesota. Hoeven appointed Carlson Deputy Director of North Dakota Workforce Safety and Insurance (WSI) in 2009.
  • Brad Thykeson as North Dakota State Director for the Farm Service Agency (FSA) – A farmer of 33 years in Barnes and Steele Counties, Thykeson has firsthand knowledge of FSA policies and programs and how they will affect North Dakota producers. He has served as president of the North Dakota Grain Growers and been active in several other farm associations.

“The services of Rural Development and FSA are crucial to our farmers, ranchers and rural communities,” Hoeven said. “Clare and Brad have a deep familiarity not only with the roles of their respective agencies, but with our state and the needs of our agricultural producers. We welcome them to their new posts and look forward to working with them as we draft the next farm bill. Further, with farmers and ranchers still recovering from this year’s drought, I will work with Brad to ensure our ag producers receive all available assistance in a timely fashion.” 

The appointments dovetail with Hoeven’s efforts to secure needed improvements to the farm bill and ensure agriculture programs are implemented in a way that best serves producers’ needs. The senator continues to meet with farmers and ranchers across North Dakota to gather feedback and outline his priorities for the 2018 farm bill, including:

  • Strong Crop Insurance – The senator is working to strengthen and prevent cuts to the crop insurance program, which is the primary risk management tool for many producers. 
  • Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) – Hoeven secured $5 million for a pilot program in the Senate’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Agriculture Appropriations bill, and funding in the Senate’s FY 2018 Appropriations bill, to improve the fairness of ARC payment calculations, while exploring long-term solutions to the problem for the next farm bill. 
  • Sugar Program – The senator said he will work to extend the sugar program in a bipartisan manner, ensuring that American producers have a level playing field in the world sugar market.
  • Agriculture Research – Hoeven will work to include strong support for agricultural research, like the work done at North Dakota State University and the North Dakota Extension Service, to enhance crop genetics and production.
  • Drought Support – Hoeven continues working to secure all possible support for farmers and ranchers to help them weather the drought. The senator is also working to improve the livestock assistance programs in the next farm bill and ensure they work for ranchers when needed most.

In addition, Hoeven continues working to provide support through FSA for farmers and ranchers facing drought this year. As chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, Hoeven secured a provision in the Senate’s Fiscal Year 2018 funding bill directing FSA to allocate additional staff and resources to drought stricken areas. Following this, Hoeven announced that FSA had assigned additional staff to six county offices in North Dakota to prevent service backlogs for agriculture producers facing severe drought conditions. Hoeven continues working to advance drought support for agriculture producers in the final appropriations measure.