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New leader of Rural Development for Kentucky

A veteran government official has been named Kentucky director of Rural Development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the White House announced Friday.

Thomas Fern headed the office from 1993 to 2001 and worked a total of 36 years for USDA, according to a news release.

Fern worked at the Kentucky Department of Parks from 2001 to 2003 and is on the Kentucky Water Resource Development Commission and the Kentucky Appalachian Commission.

Rural Development administers and manages more than 40 housing, business and community-development programs.

"Thomas Fern will be an important advocate on behalf of rural communities throughout the state and help administer the valuable programs and services provided by the USDA that can enhance their economic success," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement.