WASHINGTON, Feb. 6, 2023 – Today, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Chief Scientist Chavonda Jacobs-Young applauded significant achievements in service to the American public made by Research, Education and Economics (REE) mission area employees during year two of the Biden-Harris Administration.
“Our dedicated team of scientists, economists, statisticians, administrative and communications professionals, interns and other employees continue to achieve remarkable results for agriculture,” said Jacobs-Young, who the Senate confirmed as REE Under Secretary and USDA Chief Scientist on June 8, 2022. “Innovative science breakthroughs, research revelations and data discoveries underpin all of USDA’s priorities in support of American producers and communities. The work our employees do each day is essential to building a food system that not only maximizes productivity, but also advances producer profitability, sustainability and resilience.”
The REE mission area is comprised of more than 8,500 employees across five component organizations including the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Economic Research Service (ERS), National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), and Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS), that work together to achieve USDA’s science mission.
This past year, the REE team made great strides in advancing USDA’s priorities to better integrate equity in our research programs, tackle food and nutrition security, develop climate-smart solutions, and build more and better markets.
A few notable 2022 highlights include:
On February 2, 2022, President Biden reignited the Cancer Moonshot to end cancer as we know it. USDA serves on the Cancer Cabinet and plays an integral role in this effort. While others work to treat and cure cancer, USDA works to prevent cancer through nutrition-related research and programs. To support this initiative, REE hosted three community-focused virtual roundtables and the USDA’s Cancer Moonshot Day of Action. USDA and REE continue to strive to meet the goals laid out in the White House National Strategy on Hunger Nutrition and Health (PDF, 776 KB).
Under the leadership of Secretary Vilsack, REE and USDA’s Office of Partnerships and Public Engagements convened a series of listening sessions with leaders from Hispanic-serving, 1890, 1994, and 1862 institutions. Conversations centered on how USDA can meaningfully enhance its partnerships with Minority-serving Institutions and Tribal partners to catalyze research to support historically underserved groups and improve access to USDA services.
In August 2022, NIFA announced the availability of $250 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding for Minority-serving Institutions to create career development opportunities for the next generation of agricultural leaders. The historic new program, “From Learning to Leading: Cultivating the Next Generation of Diverse Food and Agriculture Professionals (NEXTGEN),” will enable 1890, 1994, Alaska Native-serving, Native Hawaiian-serving, and Hispanic-serving Institutions to build and sustain the rising food, agriculture, natural resources and human sciences workforce through scholarship support, meaningful paid internships, fellows, and more.
In November 2022, NASS launched the 2022 Census of Agriculture, making it easier than ever for producers to make their voice heard by offering a secure, user-friendly, and time-saving online questionnaire option. Taken every five years, the ag census is the most comprehensive data collection for agriculture in the nation and tells the story of not only U.S. farms and ranches, but also the people who operate them. By completing the survey, producers across the nation can help generate impactful funding and program opportunities that better serve them and future generations of producers. Producers have until Feb. 6 to respond and ensure every voice is counted.
In December 2022, REE announced the new Agricultural Science Center of Excellence for Nutrition and Diet for Better Health (ASCEND for Better Health) in support of President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot effort. This virtual center will accelerate research on diet-related chronic diseases. A long-term goal of the center is to translate research into impactful solutions that improve public health and well-being. On January 31, 2023, USDA will host the first community engagement session in partnership with Southern University that focuses on diet-related health disparities faced by African Americans. Additional community engagement sessions will be announced soon.
The Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate), co-led by the U.S. and United Arab Emirates, seeks to drive climate action by increasing investment and worldwide support for climate-smart agriculture and food systems innovation. Since its launch at COP26, AIM for Climate partners have increased investments to more than $8 billion, launched 30 innovation sprints, and expanded to 275 partners worldwide. USDA is hosting the AIM for Climate Summit on May 8-10 in Washington, D.C.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart agriculture and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean-energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.
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