BANGOR, Maine (AP) — A longtime official with the Maine Potato Board is going to serve as the state director for rural development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Timothy Hobbs says he looks forward to working alongside state partners to help finance homes, invest in facilities and "empower rural business."

The agency provides loans and grants to expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural Maine.

Hobbs began the post late last month after serving for 15 years as director of development and grower relations with the potato board.