Miranowski named FSA director
The Minnesota State Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced Nicolette ‘Nicki’ Miranowski will serve as the County Executive Director for the Faribault County FSA Office located in Blue Earth.
A Hazen, N.D., native, Miranowski grew up on a diversified dairy farm.
After her graduation from Hazen High School, she pursued a degree in agricultural economics from North Dakota State University in Fargo.
After earning her degree, she farmed with her family before she began working with the Agricul-ture Stabilization and Conservation Service (ASCS) in Watford City, N.D.
After working four years in Watford, the agency consolidated and became known as the Farm Service Agency (FSA). As a result of the organization right-sizing itself, she volunteered to transfer to the office in Wahpeton, N.D., where she served as a Program Technician.
“While working at Wahpeton for 13 years, I administered the direct and counter-cyclical payment program (DCP),” says Miranowski.
In February 2009, she filed an application to participate in the 12 month County Office Trainee Program. This program prepares candidates for managing a county level FSA office.
While in the program, she was based out of Breckenridge, but traveled throughout the state training in various county offices to learn each county’s program and their management responsibilities.
However, she received a waiver in the program after seven months and was able to apply for the Faribault County position in September which was vacated last Dec. 8 by Kevin Beekman. Miranowski says FSA doesn’t give their trainees a choice of location where they will be placed upon the completion of the program, but they do like to keep their training dollars in the state. Since there were several vacancies among the 79 FSA county offices in Minnesota, she wasn’t sure where she would end up.
“I am lucky to come into a county with very knowledgeable staff with years of experience,” says the new FSA Director.
Miranowski assumed her duties as the Faribault County Executive Director on Oct. 13.
“Basically, I’m the office manager,” explains Miranowski. “I work with the county committee to oversee and implement the programs offered by FSA. I also oversee the daily activities of the five program technicians in the office.”
Miranowski hopes to close on a home purchase in the near future. Meanwhile, she has been ‘camped-out’ at the Americinn with her car serving as her clothing closet.
She and her husband have a residence in Kent, Minn., a community of 94 people located about 30 miles south of Fargo. She served as the Kent City Clerk from 2007 to mid-2009, before she entered the FSA program and while she was working at Wahpeton.
“My husband always said being the City Clerk was my second job,” says Miranowski.
In addition to her clerking job, Miranowski says she has always been very active in ‘Relay for Life’ activities and is looking forward to getting involved in community events in Blue Earth.
As for hobbies, she says she enjoys reading, watching movies, traveling, taking walks with her dog and being involved with the National Association of County Office Employees (NASCOE).
“My husband says my hobby is to be involved,” says a smiling Miranowski.
As she settles into her new role, Miranowski says her main goal will be to run a customer service-oriented, friendly and efficient office.
“We’re all about providing excellent customer service,” she says. “We’re here for the farmer and to implement and administer the programs FSA offers.”
In addition to her office tasks, Miranowski meets the second Tuesday of each month with the County Committee comprised of three members. They are farmer-elected and serve a three year term.
Currently on the committee are Mary Huber, John Becker and David Huper, who, as part of their responsibilities, discuss upcoming regulations, approve certain program documents and help deliver the FSA programs at the local level. They also assist in deciding which programs the county will offer and work to make the FSA agriculture program serve the needs of the local producers.
“The biggest challenge we are faced with is we often don’t have the newest software to implement new programs as fast as our customers would like,” says Miranowski. “We are still using a 1985 program, so we are experiencing growing pains in the transition to update.”
Miranowski says she really enjoys working for FSA because of what they do. She explains they are a grass-roots or person-to-person connection to the farmers.
“Having grown-up on a farm, I think I can relate better with farmers,” she adds.
Currently, the Faribault County FSA office serves, in one capacity or another, 3,360 producer/owner/operators.
Miranowski says the local FSA will also do outreach activities whereby they gladly will speak to groups concerning the programs FSA offers.
As she becomes more versed in her job responsibilities, Miranowski is familiarizing herself with the community as well.
“I really like it here,” she says. “It seems like a nice community.”