National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
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  1. What is the mission of your organization?
    USDA Farm Service Agency
    USDA Farm Service Agency

    The USDA FSA mission is to support farmers and ranchers in agriculture. This is done through a variety of FSA programs many of which have direct ties to weather information such as precipitation, temperature and other severe weather events. FSA works with what is known as the Storm program to identify agricultural damage to crops or structures which creates eligibility for a Secretarial Disaster Declaration where a commodity crop in a county was over a 30 percent total loss or a Administrators Physical Loss Notification is declared for agricultural/livestock damages that make a county eligible for emergency loans related to the weather event. The Farm Service Agency is part of a county and states recovery efforts for supporting agriculture after major weather events. Tracking and identifying these impacts on crops and other ag areas is a important task for FSA GIS Specialists and Emergency Management Coordinators such as myself.
  2. What has your organization done to promote a Weather Ready Nation? (i.e. what did your WFO recognize your for?)
    Minnesota Farm Service Agency works with all County FSA offices on a weekly basis to track weather events that may impact the state. We conduct yearly training on how to record losses and complete field work to track crop losses due to weather events. As part of these efforts, Minnesota FSA is also working with the National Weather Service to pilot a program for using a weather station in Little Falls, Minnesota at the County FSA Office. County offices throughout Minnesota assist in tracking weather related events and coordinating documentation of photos that are often shared with the National Weather Service.

    Information from the National Weather Service and the Weather Ready program is also complied monthly for FSA County offices. This helps support stronger understanding of seasonal weather variations that staff needs to be aware of. Part of these efforts have also led to participating with the USDA Regional Climate Hubs where Minnesota has a representative (Jeff Bloomquist) participating with other USDA agencies and climate groups to better study and develop ways for supporting agriculture through severe weather events and changes in climate over time.

  3. What does being an Ambassador mean to you?
    Being an Ambassador has helped myself develop a more coordinated approach for helping my agency address weather events in Minnesota. I feel this is an important role because of the impacts that can occur to agriculture due to weather events. Making sure the FSA staff in Minnesota is ready to respond and help agriculture recover is very important.
  4. What are your goals for the next year concerning preparedness?
    As part of the Climate Hub initiatives I would like to help the FSA offices in the Midwest region all become certified weather ready. Part of this effort will be to work with my counter parts to better utilize weather information to respond to and recover from weather events. The second part of this will begin to study climate change issues related to agriculture so states like Minnesota are better prepared