President Obama announced Friday his intent to appoint Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy as Director of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. NIFA links USDA with the land-grant university community, including historically Black colleges and universities, Native American institutions, Hispanic and other universities, and other public and private organizations, to advance research, extension, and higher education in the food and agricultural sciences and related environmental, social, and human sciences. Dr. Ramaswamy is currently Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State University.
"I welcome the President's intent to appoint Dr. Ramaswamy, a man with a distinguished career as a scientist, professor and leader within higher education, and someone who will surely help to position NIFA as a modern and efficient service organization that is closely in tune with the long-term vitality of the food and agricultural sciences," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "NIFA's work to coordinate federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs in the service of U.S. agriculture is critical to sustaining the important gains made by U.S. agriculture. By investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future - such as global and domestic food security, renewable energy, and nutrition - NIFA's work has proven integral to the health and security of all Americans. And I am confident that Dr. Ramaswamy will uphold this vital mission."
Dr. Ramaswamy has served as the Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State University since 2009 and also serves as Director of the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station. Previously, he was the Associate Dean of Purdue's College of Agriculture and directed the University's agricultural research programs from 2006 to 2009. Prior to joining the Purdue faculty in 2006, Dr. Ramaswamy was head of the Department of Entomology at Kansas State University from 1997 to 2006, where he held the title of Distinguished Professor. He also served on the faculty of Mississippi State University, was a research associate at Michigan State University, and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Entomological Society of America. Dr. Ramaswamy earned his B.S. and M.S. in entomology from the University of Agricultural Sciences in Bangalore, India, and earned his PhD in Entomology from Rutgers University.
NIFA is part of USDA's Research, Education and Economics Mission Area, which includes the Agricultural Research Service, the Economic Research Service, the National Agricultural Statistics Service, as well as the National Agriculture Library and National Arboretum. Each day, the work of USDA scientists and researchers touches the lives of every American: from the farm field to the kitchen table, from the air we breathe to the energy that powers our country. USDA science is on the cutting edge, helping protect, secure, and improve our food, agriculture and natural resources.