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USDA Appoints Key Experts and Thought Leaders to Board that Informs USDA’s Science and Research Priorities

WASHINGTON, May 16, 2024 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today the appointment of 10 members to the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics (NAREEE) Advisory Board. Seven members are new appointments, and three members are re-appointments. Members represent a mix of university, non-profit, and industry representatives.

The NAREEE Advisory Board provides feedback to the Secretary of Agriculture, to USDA’s Research, Education, and Economics (REE) mission area, and to Land-grant colleges and universities on food and agricultural research, education, extension and economics priorities and policies. The Advisory Board also provides recommendations on high-priority science needs to agricultural committees of the U.S. Congress.

“The NAREEE Advisory Board is an integral component of USDA’s scientific enterprise,” said Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young, USDA Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics. “USDA relies on these scientific experts to provide evidence-based insight and recommendations as we develop innovative, sustainable, strategic and inclusive science priorities that serve all Americans.”

NAREEE Board members are selected and appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture. Each NAREEE Advisory Board member represents a specific category of U.S. agricultural stakeholder as outlined in the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018. These areas include farming, ranching, food production, processing, forestry research, crop and animal science, Land-grant Institutions, other colleges or universities with a historic commitment to research in food and agricultural sciences, food retailing and marketing, rural economic development, and natural resources and consumer interest groups.

NAREEE Board activities are carried out by four committees and subcommittees that are focused on specific agricultural science areas considered by the full committee. Those committees are the National Genetic Resources Advisory Council, the Specialty Crop Committee, the Citrus Disease Subcommittee and the recently established Pollinator Subcommittee.

New or Reappointed NAREEE Advisory Board members are listed below. Each member will serve a 2- to 3-year term.

Dr. Sreekala Bajwa, Vice President for Agriculture, Montana State University, Montana Agricultural Experiment Station (1862 Land Grant University Representative) – New

Dr. V.M. “Bala” Balasubramanium, Professor, Food Engineering, The Ohio State University (Academic/Research Society Representative) – Reappointment

Dr. Mario Ferruzzi, Professor and Director, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences/Arkansas Children's Nutrition Center (Academic/Research Society Representative) – Reappointment

Ms. Vanessa Garcia Polanco, Policy Co-Director, National Young Farmers Coalition (Farm/Producer Representative) – New

Dr. Ellen Harris, ARS Associate Area Director, Southeast Area (retired), and former Executive Director, Food First (Industry, Consumer or Rural Interest Representative) – New

Dr. Mark Lawrence, Professor, College of Veterinary Medicine, Mississippi State University (College of Veterinary Medicine Representative) – Reappointment

Dr. William Lytle, CEO/Founder; Evergreen International Sustainability Solutions (Farm/Producer Representative) – New

Mr. Edwin Kitzes, Land Grant Director, United Tribes Technical College (1994 Tribal College Representative) – New

Dr. Natasha Mast, Associate Professor, Texas A&M University – Kingsville (Hispanic Serving Institution Representative) – New

Dr. Jane Schuchardt, Organic Farmer, Schuchardt Farms (Farm/Producer Representative) – New

New or Reappointed Committee/Subcommittee members are listed below. Each member will serve a 2- to 3-year term.

National Genetic Resources Advisory Council:

Dr. David Butruille, Discovery and Breeding Innovation Lead - Distinguished Fellow, Bayer Crop Science (Scientific Representative) – Reappointment

Dr. Stephen Kresovich, Director, The Robert and Lois Coker Trustees Chair of Genetics, Advanced Plant Technology Program, Clemson University (Scientific Representative) – Reappointment

Dr. Michael Lomas, Senior Research Scientist and Director, National Center for Marine Algae and Microbiota, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences (Cultivar/Animal Breeding Representative) – New

Dr. Troy Ott, C. Lee Rumberger and Family Chair in Agricultural Sciences and Acting Director, Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences, Department of Animal Science, Center for Reproductive Biology and Health, Penn State University (Cultivar/Animal Breeding Representative) – New

Dr. Margaret Smith, Associate Dean and Director of the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station and Professor, Plant Breeding and Genetics; Cornell University (Cultivar/Animal Breeding Representative) – Reappointment

Specialty Crop Committee:

Mr. Casey Foster, Agriculture Program Manager, Nebraska Department of Agriculture (Industry Representative) – New

Dr. Lorin Harvey, Assistant Professor, North Mississippi Research and Extension Center/Pontotoc Ridge-Flatwood Branch Experiment Center, Mississippi State University (Academic Representative) – New

Dr. Carlos Iglesias, Horticulture Science Professor and Director of the Plant Breeding Consortium, North Carolina State University (Academic Representative) – Reappointment

Mr. Jack Karlin, Program Administrator, Turfgrass Water Conservation Alliance (Industry Representative) – New

Dr. Carlos “Charlie” Messina, Professor, Horticulture Sciences and Director, Crop Transformation Center, University of Florida (Academic Representative) – New

Citrus Disease Subcommittee:

Mr. Gregory Galloway, Sierra Crest Agriculture (California Producer Representative) – Reappointment

Mr. John Gless, Chief Operating Officer, Bagdasarian Farms (California Producer Representative) – Reappointment

Mrs. Julia Inestroza, Hermosa Tierra Inc. (California Producer Representative) – Reappointment

Mr. William “Gee” Roe, III, W.G. Roe and Sons (Florida Producer Representative) – Reappointment

Mr. James Snively, Vice President, Grove Operations, Southern Gardens Groves Corporation (Florida Producer Representative) – Reappointment

Dr. Ram Uckoo, Research and Development, Wonderful Citrus (represents California Producers Representative) – New

Get more details on the NAREEE Advisory Board website:


The National Genetic Resources Advisory Council makes recommendations to the Secretary and to the Director of the Agriculture Research Service’s (ARS) National Genetic Resources Program. The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 expanded the responsibilities of NGRAC by increasing the Council’s membership and broadening its recommendations to include public cultivar development and animal breed development.

The Board’s Specialty Crop Committee studies the scope and effectiveness of research, extension and economics programs affecting the specialty crop industry, including the Specialty Crop Research Initiative, a granting program of NIFA.

The Board’s Citrus Disease Subcommittee provides recommendations to USDA on citrus research, extension and development needs. This Board Subcommittee performs an annual consultation with the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) on its research priorities for the Emergency Citrus Disease Research and Extension Program, a grant program that aims to combat Huanglongbing (HLB) “Citrus Greening” using systems-based, trans-disciplinary approaches to provide solutions to this disease for U.S. citrus growers.

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