Philip Leary, AICP, was named State Director for USDA Rural Development in Florida/U.S. Virgin Islands in April 2019. Leary has thirty years of experience in the fields of agriculture, forestry, land use planning and environmental regulation working for local, state government and the private sector.
Mr. Leary was formerly Principal Consultant of Leary Governmental Affairs, representing clients in the specific areas of environmental regulation, economic development, growth management, land and water use.
From 1993 to 2004, he served as director of government and community affairs for the Florida Farm Bureau Federation, the largest general farm membership organization in the State of Florida. Mr. Leary was a former planning and development director for Clay County and Putnam County, and worked four years as water resource specialist with St. Johns River Water Management District.
He received a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture – natural resources and environmental economics, with certificate minor in environmental studies from the University of Florida. He completed post graduate work in public administration, policy, and planning at the University of North Florida.
As State Director, Mr. Leary will use his leadership experience to oversee Rural Development programs in a customer-focused manner to restore prosperity in rural Florida/U.S. VI.
Under the direction of Secretary Sonny Perdue, USDA will always be facts-based and data-driven, with a decision-making mindset that is customer-focused. Secretary Perdue leads the USDA with four guiding principles: to maximize the ability of American agriculture to create jobs, sell foods and fiber, and feed and clothe the world; to prioritize customer service for the taxpayers; to ensure that our food supply is safe and secure; and to maintain good stewardship of the natural resources that provide us with our miraculous bounty. And understanding that we live in a global economy where trade is of top importance, Secretary Perdue has pledged to be an unapologetic advocate for American agriculture.
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; homeownership; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas.
Contact USDA Rural Development
Information on programs available through USDA Rural Development is available by visiting www.rd.usda.gov/fl or by calling (352)-338-3400.
USDA Rural Development has 6 offices across the state and 1 in the Virgin Islands serving individuals living in rural communities and areas. Office locations include a State Office in Gainesville, along with Area Offices in Crestview, Marianna, Lake City, Ocala, Champions Gate, Royal Palm Beach and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Source: USDA/Rural Development