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Jill Long Thompson to lead Farm Credit Administration

President Obama on Wednesday appointed Jill Long Thompson, a former congresswoman for northeast Indiana, to be the chairman and chief executive officer of the Farm Credit Administration.

Obama appointed Thompson, 60, to a four-year term on the FCA's full-time, three-member board in 2010. The FCA is an independent federal agency that regulates and examines the Farm Credit System, a network of lenders with nearly $240 billion in assets.

The FCA, which has about 300 full- and part-time employees, is funded by assessments paid by FCS institutions.

Thompson replaces Leland Strom of Kane County, Ill., as the head of the FCA. Strom's term expired in October, although he remains on the board. He had been appointed by President George W. Bush.

Board nominations must be confirmed by the Senate, but the body's chairman is selected by the president.

Thompson grew up on a Whitley County farm near Larwill. She and her husband, Don Thompson, have a farm near Argos in Marshall County.

Thompson – then known as Jill Long – represented northeast Indiana in Congress from 1989 through 1994. She was undersecretary for rural development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the Clinton administration from 1995 to 2001.

Thompson was the Democratic candidate for governor in 2008, the only woman ever nominated by either major party for the state's highest office. She also was the Democratic nominee for a U.S. Senate seat in 1986 and for Indiana's 2nd District seat in the House in 2002.

Thompson also was chief executive officer for the National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy, a nonprofit research and policy group. She formerly taught at Indiana, IPFW, Valparaiso and Manchester universities.

For more on this story, see Thursday's print edition of The Journal Gazette or visit after 3 a.m. Thursday.

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