As part of a national system of state committees, the group, headquartered in the Matanuska Valley community of Palmer, is responsible for the general direction and supervision of state FSA programs. Members also maintain cooperative relationships with the agriculture-business community in the state and nationally, according the Chad Padget state FSA executive director.
Willard's appointment was recommended to the President Bush administration by Alaska's congressional delegation. Willard said he also served on the committee, which is a paid position, during the Ford and Reagan administrations.
A resident of the East End Road area since 1946, Willard said his father homesteaded in the area. Willard said he has raised beef commercially since 1959 and currently runs about 75-100 cows used to breed beef cattle, He has also raised cattle throughout the region for many years and operated slaughtering facilities. He is also president of the Fox River Valley Cattleman's Association.
Willard and the other two committee appointees, chairman William Dix Ward of Delta Junction, and Julia Kate Kratzer from Nenana, expect to meet for an orientation session in Palmer May 7-9.
The committees also periodically gather in Washington to discuss national policies.