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Statement by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on the Intent to Nominate Homer Wilkes, Ph.D. to Serve as Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment

WASHINGTON, June 23, 2021 – “Dr. Homer Wilkes has dedicated his career to public service; he has put his time and talents to work with USDA for more than 41 years. His nomination reflects USDA’s commitment to putting agriculture, forestry and working lands at the center of solutions to increase climate resilience, sequester carbon, protect our air and water. While with the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), Dr. Wilkes played a key role in directing engineering, natural resource, and watershed projects and took a keen interest in forestry and working lands. He currently serves as the Director of the Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem Restoration Division, where he has been integral to restoring the health of the Gulf Coast ecosystem after the BP Oil Spill of 2010. Dr. Wilkes holds his Bachelors, Master of Business Administration, and Ph.D. in Urban Conservation Planning and Higher Education from Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi. Dr. Homer Wilkes is a collaborative leader with a track record of working towards large-scale solutions in partnership with communities. This spirit and approach position Dr. Wilkes to ensure that even with different leadership within the USDA subcabinet there is connectivity between NRCS and the Forest Service; I am confident that Dr. Wilkes is the right person to ensure landscape-scale solutions are aligned with community priorities, assets and needs.”


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