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Science Council

The Science Council facilitates cross-Department coordination and collaboration among all USDA agencies to ensure that science informs policy and program decisions as well as to advance the scientific discovery, technological breakthroughs and innovation required to achieve the Secretary's science and technology priorities. The Science Council members represent all USDA Missions, Agencies, and Program Offices Heads or their Senior Staff delegates.

Education Coordinating Committee

We consider it a high priority to increase educational opportunities available to all in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in order to fill the education pipeline with the next generation of scientists to carry on the important work that bolsters our agricultural system.

The Education Coordinating Council cultivates the robust partnerships across the Department needed to achieve Secretary Vilsack's goals of "building a modern workplace with a modern workforce;" fostering the next generation of workers in university teaching and research; meeting the needs of the private sector; addressing societal and scientific challenges through citizen science and crowdsourcing; and improving public awareness of the important role that the food, agricultural, and natural resource sectors play in promoting our country's physical and economic health and security.

  • Ann M. Bartuska, Chair
  • Muquarrab Qureshi, Co-Chair

Joint Committee on Biorisk Management Policy

The technical nature of biosafety and biosecurity issues combined with the national security implications associated with potential threats, consequences, and vulnerabilities creates an interconnectedness between scientific expertise and national security policy. The USDA Science Council and USDA Security Council provide administrative support for this committee. The goal of this committee is to institutionalize a more harmonized USDA approach for informed decision making, policy development, and oversight practices in the areas of biorisk management. The purpose of the Committee is to oversee biorisk management policy at the department level, provide a forum to discuss best practices, review inputs for national-level reports, and serve as a conduit for bi-directional information sharing between USDA senior leadership and all other levels of personnel. These efforts will lead to more effective biorisk management across USDA through more frequent standardization of department policies, more effective trend identification and analysis, and heightened awareness of critical areas for strategic focus.

  • Kim Green, Chair
  • Todd Repass, Co-Chair

Statistics Committee

Statistics released by USDA agencies inform decisions at every step of the value chain between agricultural producers and consumers. Statistics influence which crops farmers grow, where exporters ship, and how food manufacturers supply grocery stores across the country. They are also used to determine eligibility for USDA programs for growers, households, and communities, and their influence extends to financial markets around the world.

The Statistics Committee provides agencies throughout USDA with a forum to assure consistency in the creation and use of statistical information. In addition to the application of statistical methodology for data collection and analysis, the creation of statistical information by the USDA often requires collaboration across agencies. The Committee helps agencies work together to develop approaches that enhance the value of scientific data, and to facilitate agency initiatives that efficiently produce statistical information for meaningful, accurate descriptions and forecasts of food and agriculture.

  • Mary Bohman, Chair
  • Cynthia Clark, Co-Chair

Topics in International Agricultural Science, Technology, and Innovation Committee

International agricultural science, technology, and innovation research are all priorities of USDA's science agenda. The purpose of this committee is to provide support to the Secretary and Chief Scientist by promoting inter-agency cooperation and collaboration in order to best leverage the Department's resources. The committee also identifies areas for internationally focused and/or collaborated agricultural science, technology, and innovation research that supports the Secretary and Administration priorities and disseminates these USDA research activities to ensure that the best science is made available for decision making.

  • Chavonda Jacobs-Young, Chair
  • Jaime Adams, Co-Chair