The following message is what I sent out to all Farm Service Agency employees yesterday, on my last day in the office. I wish I had written all of it, I did have help from our public affairs director. He is so talented. He reminded me that I don’t have to write in bureaucratese anymore! I should write how I feel! I hope I can re-train myself.
Woke up to a 2 hour delay due to another passing snow storm. So my quiet cake and coffee reception was just that, exactly what I wanted.
As I prepare to retire on February 28, already I feel a gamut of emotions, from the fulfillment of attaining another milestone, to the joy of anticipating new days ahead. I also feel the subtle apprehension of reaching the next juncture of my life. And by now, I’ve felt the tears of my final conversations, knowing that in a few short days soon, I’ll be completing the boxing up of records and mementos, taking that last look around my room, clicking off the light, locking my door, and hearing those echoes of my footsteps down the long, tiled hallways of the South Building for the very last time.
I have had a truly remarkable career with USDA over the last 34 years. I started with the Office of Inspector General, where some of my first assignments were auditing the county offices of the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service across the Midwest. Those days provided my first experiences with this incredible nationwide network of dedicated local staff – inspirations that have guided me to this day. Later, I transferred to ASCS’s Kansas City office, and then to Washington, D.C. where I’ve worked hard to use my experiences during my earliest days in the field to keep the confidence of our county staff throughout the performance of my duties.
Right from the start, I became dedicated to FSA’s important mission of supporting and enhancing American agriculture, assisting our farmers and ranchers to become the most productive and efficient producers as they could be. As I helped to implement six different farm bills, each time from a different perspective, my appreciation grew further as I saw how my colleagues kept their commitments to American agriculture and rural communities, through teamwork and cooperation. I have been so fortunate to have had mentors, teachers, and brilliant leaders who provided me not just with many incredible opportunities along the way, but with many insights and inspirations that helped to light the path.
That’s why I will miss coming here every day – – because I love working with all of you. I have always found FSA employees to be the best: you are creative, collaborative, and compassionate. FSA truly is and will continue to be the “Can-Do” agency. As my days draw to a close, I am so grateful that I can say how proud I am of my career with FSA. And most of all, I am so proud of what we have accomplished together.
All the best,