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Full Senate confirms USDA chief scientist

USDA Chavonda Jacobs-Young.jpg
USDA SCIENTIST CONFIRMED: Long-time USDA researcher and leader Dr. Chavonda J. Jacobs-Young to be USDA undersecretary of agriculture for Research, Education, and Economics.
Long-time USDA employee Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young confirmed as undersecretary of agriculture for research, education and economics.

The Senate advanced the nomination of Dr. Chavonda J. Jacobs-Young to be USDA undersecretary of agriculture for Research, Education, and Economics. The Senate Agriculture Committee took up her nomination in a business meeting in January and held a hearing on her nomination in November 2021.

Nearly 100 industry groups and stakeholders expressed support for Jacobs-Young’s nomination in a letter to Senate Ag Committee leadership in November, calling her the ideal candidate to lead the REE mission area with the experience and scientific expertise needed to lead U.S. research, education, and economics into a new era of innovation.

Jacobs-Young currently serves as acting deputy undersecretary for REE, acting USDA chief scientist, administrator for the Agricultural Research Service, and is former acting director for USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

“American farmers and ranchers have had a competitive advantage on the world stage in large part thanks to agricultural research,” says Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. “Dr. Jacobs-Young is the right person to oversee USDA’s major research, education, and extension agencies. I am glad my colleagues and I could come together to confirm this outstanding nominee.”

“Dr. Jacobs-Young has served American agriculture well in her career and I’m pleased she will continue her leadership as the undersecretary for Research, Education, and Economics,” adds Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., who serves as the ranking member on the Senate Agriculture Committee. “I congratulate her on her confirmation and look forward to working together to support agricultural research and producers nationwide.”

House Agriculture Chairman David Scott, D-Ga., also congratulated the Georgia native on her confirmation.

“I am particularly excited to see someone with such a strong career in research and at the Department leading USDA’s research and economics agencies. Our House Agriculture team looks forward to working with Under Secretary Jacobs-Young and helping cement the United States’ role as the world leader in agricultural research and extension,” says Scott.

Jacobs-Young is the first woman and person of color to lead this agency, which manages an annual budget of $1.82 billion. Jacobs-Young was instrumental in establishing the USDA Office of the Chief Scientist and served as its first director. Her responsibilities included facilitating the coordination of scientific leadership across USDA to ensure that research supported by, and scientific advice provided to the department and external stakeholders were held to the highest standards of intellectual rigor and scientific integrity. During her tenure she led the development of the first USDA Scientific Integrity Policy and facilitated the reestablishment of the USDA Science Council.

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