Phil Ward, director of the Oregon Water Resources Department for the past 10 years, is the new state executive director of the federal Farm Service Agency.
The office, part of the USDA, administers farm assistance and benefit programs in the state, including $34 million in loans. The FSA has 189 employees in Oregon.
Ward, a fifth-generation Oregonian, has a long association with Oregon agriculture. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in ag education from Oregon State University, and in 1983 was named the state’s outstanding young ag teacher.
Moving into government work, he served as assistant director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture, then worked as executive vice president of the Oregon Farm Bureau. He returned to the state ag department as director in 1999. In 2004 he was appointed director of the Water Resources Department, which oversees 80,000 agricultural, industrial and municipal water rights in Oregon.