By Jessica Claypole and Meredith Clevenger, Missouri Farm Service Agency
Serving her Local Farm Service Agency
Debbie Bell has a history of involvement with her local Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committee. She is currently serving in her third year of her second term on the Stoddard County FSA County Committee in Missouri.
County committee members are elected by their peers and are a direct link between the agricultural community and USDA. Farmers on the committee help deliver FSA farm programs at the local level, help decide the kind of programs their counties will offer and work to make FSA agricultural programs serve the needs of local producers.
Bell and her family, which includes her husband Kenneth, their two sons Nathan and Zachary, their son-in-law, John Garner, and their grandchildren, are all involved in helping with the farming operation. They grow rice, corn, soybeans, wheat and cotton, with popcorn being a recent addition to the list of crops they produce.
An Opportunity to Listen and Learn
Bell chose her agriculture path after marrying her high school sweetheart and moving back home to Stoddard County. She works exclusively on the farm, and her certification in public accounting helps her handle the financial aspects of their operation. Aside from the growing season, Bell and her family are busy year-round on the farm.
“Something is going on around here all the time,” Bell said.
Bell currently serves as chairperson on the county committee and decided to become a member several years ago as she felt a responsibility to serve her community in this capacity. Bell encourages people to become a part of the committee, stating it’s an opportunity to listen and learn.
An Opportunity to Give Back
“You think you know everything about farming, but you can always learn more,” Bell said. “It is a great way to gain more information and it’s also an opportunity to give back to people who have been very good to us as farmers.”