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Gutter named deputy undersecretary, Nelson leaving FSA post

Agriculture Undersecretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse announced several changes of personnel today:

Karis Gutter

Karis Gutter
Karis Gutter has been named deputy undersecretary for farm and foreign agricultural services after serving in an acting capacity since February 2011. Gutter previously worked as senior adviser to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, as well as FSA deputy administrator for field operations.

Before joining the Obama administration, Gutter was deputy chief of staff to Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss. and also served as senior policy adviser to the House Committee on Homeland Security.

Farm Service Agency Administrator Bruce Nelson will leave his post July 8 to resume his role as FSA state executive director in Montana.

Juan Garcia

Juan Garcia
Juan Garcia, the deputy administrator for farm programs, will serve as acting FSA administrator. A 34-year career veteran with USDA, Garcia served as state executive director for Texas from 2009-2011, as well as agricultural program manager, district director and county executive director

FSA Deputy Administrator for Field Operations Mike Wooden will retire June 29 after more than 30 years of service at USDA.

John Berge, Vilsack’s first White House liaison, will serve as acting deputy administrator for field operations. After serving in the liaison post, Berge served as deputy assistant secretary for congressional relations, and most recently as executive director of USDA’s National Food and Agriculture Council. Berge also served as an FSA state executive director in Nebraska during the Clinton administration.

Before joining USDA, Berge worked on the staff of Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., and had previously served on the staffs of Nebraska Democratic Sens. Jim Exon and Bob Kerrey.