Press Releases

Webb, Warner Applaud Appointments of Ellen Matthews Davis and Michael Wooden to Virginia’s Top USDA Posts

~ Davis to Serve in Rural Development, Wooden at the Farm Service Agency ~

Jun 30 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Senators Jim Webb and Mark R. Warner today applauded the appointments of Ellen Matthews Davis and Michael Wooden to key Virginia leadership positions within the U. S. Department of Agriculture. Davis will serve as Virginia State Director for Rural Development and Wooden will serve as State Executive Director of the Farm Service Agency. Senators Webb and Warner nominated Davis and Wooden for the positions.

“With the needs of Virginia’s rural and agriculture communities in mind, I am pleased to hear of the appointments of Ellen Davis and Michael Wooden to these important positions with the U.S. Department of Agriculture,” said Senator Webb. “Both Davis and Wooden are highly qualified and I look forward to the contributions they will make on behalf of Virginia’s agricultural industry.”

“Ellen Davis and Michael Wooden both have already built their careers on assisting Virginia's farmers,” said Senator Warner. “Their experience with the Commonwealth's agricultural industry and the challenges of many of its rural communities will continue to be important assets for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.”

Ellen Davis was appointed in 2006 as State Director for Rural Development and this announcement will allow her to continue serving in this capacity. Davis has a history of service to the agricultural industry, previously working as Director of Human Resources at the Virginia Farm Bureau. Davis also established EMD Associates, a consulting business that worked with Virginia agriculture associations to increase visibility of grain production in the state.

USDA Rural Development manages over 40 housing, business, and community infrastructure and facility programs that are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.

Michael Wooden has almost 27 years of service with USDA, currently working as Richmond District Director for the Farm Service Agency and Acting State Executive Director. Wooden was raised on his family peanut and small grain farm in Surry County, Virginia and holds a bachelor’s degree in agriculture education from Virginia State College. 

The Farm Services Agency works to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural Americans. Some of the agency’s efforts include providing direct operating loans for farm equipment, seed and fertilizer, as well as rural housing loans to help rural people buy, build or rent housing. FSA also procures various commodities to benefit low-income families through domestic food assistance programs.  At the same time, the agency creates jobs by funding the growth and creation of rural businesses and cooperatives.