Talk:Foreign Agricultural Service

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In the section of heads of FAS, several of the more recent heads were acting, albeit for a notable time; they were not nominated to the Senate and approved as Administrator. I recommend that those acting Administrators be so indicated, perhaps with a footnote. Huetes 16:53, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

While I do not disagree that there is merit in noting those who were interim or acting heads of FAS, the issue of Senate confirmation is a moot point because the position of Adminstrator of this agency is not a Senate-cofirmed post.--Cycloneusa 18:43, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

In my contribution of the list of agency heads, I have not bothered to designate who was acting vs. permanent in part because several career employees were acting for a time before being permanently appointed. Examples include Les Wheeler, who was acting for three years before becoming permanent head of FAS/OFAR for another 14, and Dick Smith, among others. Some of them were acting longer than "permanent" agency heads were in charge! For me the dividing line is whether somebody was named to head FAS, whether on an interim basis or permanently, by the Secretary, as opposed to those who were named acting administrator or director by the incumbent administrator during vacations, travel, and so on. On top of that you have the question of Fran Wilcox, appointed "on an interim basis" but by the Secretary as the last permanent director of foreign agricultural relations -- for all of two weeks. It just seemed like too much work to sort this out! And Cycloneusa is correct, the head of FAS is not confirmed by the Senate. The only head of FAS ever to undergo such confirmation was Romeo Short, when he was promoted to Assistant Secretary for the Foreign Agricultural Service in 1953, a position he held for two months. It was never done before or after. Amustard (talk) 14:59, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Actually, it turns out that Ray Ioanes was designated a Level V Executive Schedule appointee at some point, and that designation remained in effect until 1994, so it is possible and even likely that administrators from Hume through Acker were confirmed. Executive Schedule positions are PAS (Presidential Appointment, Senate confirmation). This will take some research. Amustard (talk) 17:38, 12 October 2009 (UTC)

Changed 10 Ambassadors from FAS to 11, with Senate confirmation last week of Asif Chaudhry! —Preceding unsigned comment added by Amustard (talkcontribs) 04:30, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

I think that this page is one of the better USDA agency pages. However, this one appears to be written either by/for the FAS, or by someone who is limiting themself to official sources only. All sources are USG sources. There have been numerous articles critical of FAS programs, so I'm concerned that this is not an objective presentation of the agency. KrishGR (talk) 03:18, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

The media articles in the external links are not USG sources, and Jerry Hagstrom's article is rather critical, so I don't think your criticism is 100% accurate. That said, if you have critical articles that I haven't found yet, please pass them on, they should be included in the references somewhere. BTW although I work for FAS I am not doing this with agency sanction, it is thus not written by or for FAS in the sense you appear to intend. It is also not an advertisement for the agency -- not sure where that came from. Amustard (talk) 13:09, 15 April 2009 (UTC) I forgot to point out that the GAO reports on FAS for which there is a link are uniformly critical of the agency, and this should also provide some level of objectivity. 173.79.120.175 (talk) 14:09, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

I did not mean "advertisement" in the commercial sense of that term, or that this was put up to promote the FAS publicly (although some of the quoted/referenced texts were). I put that tag due to my view that the article is not presented from a neutral point of view. I do not want this to sound personal, and of course there is nothing wrong with this, but frankly most of the articles on the outer cabinet, and especially USDA agencies, seem to have been written by career employees with materials mostly lifted from that agency's materials. I agree that some of the references are critical or objective concerning FAS. Although the vast majority of sources are USG sourced, I was obviously wrong to state that "all" were. Nevertheless, although sources and references may have critiques of FAS, I stand by my original assertion that the article is not "neutral" and is presented from the FAS point of view. If nobody else does, next month after I finish other tasks I will work on the article to improve this. Thanks again for putting up the article and as I initially wrote I do believe this to be among the best USDA agency articles. KrishGR (talk) 17:16, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

Much of the source material does not come from agency publications, and is not "lifted"; it is drawn from materials I compiled privately, and without agency sanction. In fact, the agency public affairs office continues to insist that FAS was founded in 1953, not 1930, even though the historical record on that is quite clear. Some historical data come from agency-held records, but in fact the majority of material comes from the National Archives, Library of Congress (e.g., Congressional hearings), and documents stored in the National Agricultural Library. The agency itself has no complete record of past agency heads, general sales managers, or heads of international development -- the lists on Wikipedia are, in fact, unique in constituting a stab at creating such a record for all three positions (I do now have a complete record of agency heads, but not of GSMs or international development heads). This may not be obvious simply because I have not footnoted the article to this point, and that shortcoming obtains mainly because it will be a time-consuming project when the time comes. Now, as to the evenhandedness question. I should point out that the "Great Grain Robbery", which is highlighted in the article among the major events, is generally viewed as a blunder on the part of FAS and not one of the agency's most shining moments. The 1962 "Chicken War" was also a Pyhrric victory and so is not included with anything other than neutral intent. Amustard (talk) 23:14, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

Again, I did not mean for any of my critiques of the article to be taken personally. The "Great Grain Robbery" description you mentioned proves my point. If you read that section, nowhere is it mentioned that this incident was viewed as a blunder on the part of the FAS. Rather, it mentions the consequences of that affair. Other examples are the critiques in some of the reports cited, and other sources, as to whether FAS is indeed playing a worthwhile role, the nature of foreign food aid exports, and international development programs. Those are not described in the article. I have no strong position on these, and again, I thank you for working on this article and making it among the best USDA agency articles, and for putting up the only historical record of senior FAS management. Perhaps a list of undersecretaries/deputy undersecretaries would be worthwhile? KrishGR (talk) 23:20, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

A list of under secretaries makes more sense for the Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm and Foreign Agriculture (sic) Services article. That's a possibility but would need a bit more research than I can do at the moment (the resources are in D.C. and I am not there right now). The position was created during President Eisenhower's administration, and the first one, with rank of assistant secretary, was Earl Butz, if memory serves. Subsequent incumbents included Dale Hathaway, Clarence Palmby, Dan Amstutz, Richard Crowder, and Gene Moos, among others, but finding exact dates and filling in blanks will require some digging. On another topic, I am confused by the tag that the article needs to be wikified. What exactly is the complaint -- too many irrelevant links or too few relevant links? Amustard (talk) 15:59, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

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