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George Schmidt retiring from FSA

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Story Photo
After 31 years of service in Greeley, Wichita and Wallace counties, Farm Service Administration (FSA) County Director George Schmidt is retiring. There will be a day-long come and go reception to wish him well on December 9th at the Greeley County FSA office. Schmidt began his FSA career January 1, 1988, as a trainee, headquartered out of Dodge City, Kansas. He also trained in Lawrence, Winfield and Ness City and one year later on January 1, 1989, he went to work in Tribune as the Greeley County FSA Director. He replaced Terri Turner, who had become Director after Richard Dickson moved to another position.  One of the most notable changes Schmidt mentioned was the reduction in FSA staffing, but not the workload, over the years. He started with a staff of six, and the office now has two permanent positions, one being the Director. In 2000, Schmidt said his job changed to Shared Management, in which he began to work in both Leoti and Tribune for about 10 years, then spent three years just in Tribune, and the last eight years were divided between Tribune and Sharon Springs. Programs the FSA administers include CRP (Conservation Reserve Program), ARC/PLC (Agriculture Risk Coverage/ Price Loss Coverage), and disaster programs of various types. “Most of the FSA work is in taking care of the CRP — acreage reports on every acre of almost the entire county are done yearly on most of the producers,” said Schmidt. “Also the tariff programs in the last two years have kept us busy. These are Market Facilitation Programs — MFPs — and we never know what will be coming up.” A change starting in 1996 impacted the FSA, Schmidt noted. That was the requirement for farmers to have crop insurance to be eligible for federal programs. In the beginning years, FSA started the program, sold the insurance and serviced it before it went to private industry. Another farming change was to the 1/3-1/3-1/3 rotation of crops, as opposed to the previous wheat/fallow rotation. A Syracuse native, Schmidt and his wife, Ronna, who is from Hanston, have lived in Tribune and raised their family here. Son Nathan is a dentist with a practice in Goodland and three children. Daughter Morgan Myers and husband Corbin live in Tribune and have just had their third child. Son Brian lives in Winfield. Ronna is the Director of the Greeley County Library. “It’s been a good career,” said Schmidt. “Working in western Kansas, I can say that the people here are fantastic. The people we service have been great to work with.  And I can’t say enough about how great my co-workers have been; past and present.” “Staff work ethic has been very good from day one. There is a lot of work in this office that must get done and get done right. Staff members must have a good work ethic to stay with detailed work like that.  Also, I would like to thank those people on the County Committee that hired me back in 1988.  They were Ross Kuttler, Roe Johnson, and Duane N. Schneider.” Schmidt plans to remain in Tribune and help with some farming and do other part-time things. “I’ll be around.”
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