Marsha Pyle Martin, 61, who was in the final months of her six-year term as chairman and chief executive of the Farm Credit Administration, an independent federal agency in McLean that examines and regulates agricultural lending institutions, died of cancer Jan. 9 at a hospital in Austin. She lived in McLean and Austin.

Mrs. Martin, a former executive with the Farm Credit Bank of Texas, was an outspoken advocate for policies and programs beneficial to agriculture and rural development, and a respected expert on agriculture and agricultural finance.

President Clinton appointed Mrs. Martin to the FCA's three-member board in 1994.

She succeeded Billy Ross Brown as the board's chairman, becoming the first woman to head the FCA in its 65-year history.

She also was the first woman to serve as director of the board of the Farm Credit System Insurance Corp. and the first female senior executive in the Farm Credit System, serving as senior vice president of the Farm Credit Bank in Texas.

She was a native of Texas and a 1959 journalism graduate of Texas Woman's University in Denton, Tex.

Mrs. Martin received a master's degree in rural sociology from Texas A&M University in 1970 and joined the Federal Intermediate Credit Bank of Texas that same year.

She did work in the bank's corporate relations, legal, operations and supervision, management information and public affairs departments. She also served on agricultural councils and advisory committees.

Survivors include her husband, Britt, and two daughters, Michelle and K.B. Martin, all of Austin; and two grandchildren.