Robert Stephenson: The new powerhouse at FPAC
Robert Stephenson, the new chief operating officer for the USDA Farm Production and Conservation Mission Area’s Business Center and executive vice president for the Commodity Credit Corporation, was previously the director of the USDA Farm Service Agency Office of Business and Program Integration.
According to his official USDA biography, “as director, Stephenson provided leadership and oversight for key agency-wide programs and areas including appeals, annual and strategic planning, audits, cooperative agreements, enterprise risk management, investigations, litigation, operations review and analysis and performance reporting.”
From 1991-2014, Stephenson served as deputy director, then later served as the director of FSA’s Conservation and Environmental Programs Division. He managed the Conservation Reserve Program, Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, Emergency Conservation Program, Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program, Biomass Crop Assistance Program and agency and CCC hazardous waste activities.
Stephenson previously served as deputy director of the southwest area, staff assistant in the midwest area, hearing officer with the agency’s appeals staff, and county executive director of the Decatur County office in Indiana. During the 2014 farm bill debate, he was detailed to the House Agriculture Committee where he worked on the Conservation, Credit, Research and Energy Titles.
In 2015, Stephenson received USDA’s Abraham Lincoln Honor Award, and in 1997, 2000 and 2003, he received the USDA Honor Award for Excellence. He is a 2000 graduate of the Federal Executive Institute’s Leadership for a Democratic Society Program and received the Vice President’s Hammer Award in 1999.
Stephenson owns the family farm where he was raised. After graduating from the Indiana University School of Business, he returned to his family’s farm until he joined the Agriculture Department in 1984.