Retiring Weld County FSA employee has seen no shortage of change in 25 years | TheFencePost.com

Retiring Weld County FSA employee has seen no shortage of change in 25 years

Eric Brown Greeley, Colo.

To say that retirement brings great change for most people would be an understatement.

That being the case, there are probably few who enter their retirement more comfortably than Debbie Peonio will at the end of this week.

Serving as the chief program technician for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Weld County Farm Service Agency office since 1986, the last 25 years of her life have been practically nothing but change.

As legislators have repeatedly implemented, tweaked and then eliminated many farmers assistance and insurance programs through various farm bills over the past two and a half decades, Peonio has served as the liaison between the government and local farmers, learning the ins and outs of those programs that more often than not were replaced by the next best thing within a short amount of time.

She has master knowledge of the Conservation Reserve Program, the Non-insured Assistance Program, the Direct and Countercyclical Program, the Livestock Compensation Program, the Crop Disaster Program, the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments program, as well as numerous others that came and went over the years, making acronyms the cornerstone of her everyday operations.

“It hasn’t always been simple,” Peonio said of her career with the local FSA office, which will come to a close at the end of this week.

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Thank goodness the local ag producers were terrific to work with, she noted.

“It’s because of them that I loved my job,” she said. “That’s where it becomes a little hard to walk away now.

“I’ve worked with some of these families since my first year on the job, watched their children grow up, and watched them have grandchildren, as I, too, now have grandchildren. Helping them made it all worth while.”

Peonio came on board with the local FSA office in January 1986 – shortly after she and her husband, Randy, moved to the area from Nebraska to be closer to Randy’s brother.

Debbie, a South Dakota native, and Randy had farmed together for 13 years before making the move to Colorado.