All right, class, it's midterm quiz time at the U.S. Agriculture Department. Answer the following with a true or false:
*Management of the national forests was a key issue in the 1980 presidential election.
*The election of Ronald Reagan resulted in creation of FORPLAN, a U.S. Forest Service computer model for timber management.
If you answered false on both counts, you get a gold star. If you are the office of the supervisor of national forests in Texas, you have flunked the test.
A 38-page brochure out of the office of supervisor Mike Lannan, based in Lufkin, Tex., tells readers that the Forest Service's proposed management plan for national forests and grasslands in Texas was derived from a computer model based on Reagan's "election mandate."
In fact, the computer model, called FORPLAN, was being used by the Forest Service long before the 1980 election. And to the best of many political observers' recollection, forest management didn't loom big in that campaign.
"Oh, my gosh, yes, the statement in the brochure certainly is in error," Lannan said. "The intent probably was to reflect a mood of Congress and the public to run an organization as economically and efficiently as you can."
But the erratum may never catch up with the mistake. Lannan estimated that between 300 and 500 copies of the brochure are in circulation.
ALMOST FAT TUESDAY . . .It's only a coincidence that about 60 employes of the Farmers Home Administration (FmHA) will be taking a short course on overseeing rural facility loans in New Orleans during the week before Mardi Gras, according to the agency's Harry B. Puffenberger.
The travelers, free to linger on their own time for carnival festivities, handle FmHA loans for rural projects.
FmHA is under fire from some quarters for getting tough on overdue farm loans. Does it practice the economies it preaches? Puffenberger said the course costs only $163 per student (a fee paid to Coopers & Lybrand, an accounting firm that runs the program) in addition to travel and lodging, which the government gets at discount rates.
NAME DROPPERS . . . Randy Russell, executive assistant to Secretary John R. Block during the past year, confirmed that he will go into agricultural consulting -- another name for lobbying -- when he leaves the department next week. Russell said he will join former deputy secretary Richard E. Lyng and William Lesher, erstwhile assistant secretary for economics, in the firm they set up here last year.
Under federal rules, Russell won't be able to lobby at the department for a year . . . . James Gouryeb, the director of FmHA activities in New Jersey, is back in the news. He's now a member of a national advisory council set up to give pearls of wisdom to Administrator Vance L. Clark. Gouryeb acquired mild fame in 1983 for a series of harsh memos to FmHA underlings. One memo called an FmHA office in the Virgin Islands "utterly disgraceful, disgusting and putrid . . . a wretched abomination and a loathesome humiliation." Then-FmHA Chief Charles W. Shuman removed Gouryeb from control of Virgin Islands operations.