Hometown: Stoutland, Mo.
Family: Wife, Kelly, and two grown sons
In Town: For 34 years, Darrel McCann has been the county executive director of the USDA’s Farm Service Agency for Laclede and Wright counties.
“We manage price support and emergency programs for ag producers in both counties,” he explained. “That means we manage the subsidies in this area, primarily for dairy farmers and also for grain producers when prices are low. We also maintain the farm records used by any of the federal government agencies.
“Right now the big job is helping farmers clean tornado and flood debris from their fields and re-build fencing. I’ve been doing farm visits all week.”
Darrel said the best part of his job is getting to be out with the farmers on their land on a regular basis.
“They are proud of their farms and it is a pleasure to have them show me around. One of the things I’m most proud of in my career is the fact that in 2007, after the big ice storm here, we were the first county in the country to implement an Emergency Conservation Program. It was federal funds that we used to help farmers clear their fields of storm debris and repair damaged fencing. It was a brand new program and after we did it, other states like Arkansas and Kentucky, contacted us to ask our advice on how we did it and how they could so the same. It was a $3 million program and we had 660 area farmers sign up for it.”
In the Country: “For me, life on the farm is 305 acres in Laclede County, outside Stoutland,” Darrel said. “After getting an agriculture business degree at Missouri State, I spent 10 years on the road, working for the government in agriculture. Then, we came home and settled on what was part of my wife’s family farm. We do commercial beef cattle and keep about 30 cow/calf pairs.”
Darrel grew up in farming as his family also raised beef cattle, and one of his sons continues in the tradition, working for the USDA in Hartville.
“One of the advantages of my job is all the things I’ve learned over the years that I can and do incorporate into my own farming operation. And there are also a few things I’ve seen that I know I definitely do not want to do,” he concluded with a broad smile.