Garcia is a company man. The 59-year-old administrator of the Farm Service Agency has spent his whole career working for the Agriculture Department, a total of 36 years, starting with a job out of college in a county field office in Texas. From there, he worked his way through district- and state-level positions before being appointed in 2008 as FSA's state executive director in Texas. In 2011, he came to Washington to be acting administrator for farm programs, and he was selected for his current position last year. "The employees know where I came from," Garcia said of his career path. "There's a major trust factor there that has assisted me." FSA is responsible for administering the federal government's farm programs — including safety-net protections, conservation, and loan and disaster assistance. One of Garcia's greatest challenges thus far was to oversee efforts to mitigate the widespread drought that disrupted the 2012 growing season. In January, the agency introduced a micro-loan program that benefits beginning and economically disadvantaged farmers. In the years ahead, Garcia will be charged with implementing the statutes of the next farm bill (if it ever clears Congress). He grew up on a farm in Brownsville, Texas, and has a bachelor's degree in animal science from what is now Texas A&M University in Kingsville.
This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.