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County FSA Director Zook to retire early

After 24 years with the USDA's Farm Service Agency including 19 years in Hill County, the county executive director has decided to move on to new activities.

Mike Zook, Hill County FSA director, said this morning he has taken early retirement.

"At the end of the year, I'll be done …, " Zook said, adding, "I'll sure miss our customers, our farmers. "

Zook said he and his wife, Darcy, a first-grade teacher at Highland Park Early Primary School, talked about their options and decided he should take the early retirement offer.

"After 19 years in this county, it was probably time for me to move on …, " he said. "Instead of moving up and on in the agency, we decided we'd rather stay in the Havre community. "

Zook, who is 50, said he is not sure what he will do next. He is considering continuing his education or possibly going into work in the private sector. Whatever he does, he added, he and his wife plan to stay active in the community.

The couple, who also are raising their daughters, Maggie, 14, and Molly, 7, have stayed busy in the community including at the Fifth Avenue Christian Church, in 4-H, the Havre Area Chamber of Commerce, the Havre Optimist Club and Montana Actors' Theatre.

Zook said that he is leaving at a big time, with the next Farm Bill still under debate in Congress, but that he is confident the staff members of the Hill County office still will excell in helping local agricultural producers.

"They've got the staff to continue with our programs, " he said, adding that the agency expects to move within the next few months to permanently fill the director position.


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