As USDA’s Chief Scientist I oversee a team of world class scientists, economists, statisticians, and support staff working to solve some of the biggest challenges facing us all – a changing climate, uncertain energy sources, rising childhood obesity rates, food insecurity around the globe – and making sure our solutions are safe and sustainable.
In 2010, one of my first initiatives as Chief Scientist was to ask this group of food, agricultural, and natural resource science professionals to develop an Action Plan for USDA Science. The Action Plan provides an in depth analysis of these challenges and identifies the roles of USDA’s science agencies in addressing them. Read more »
Dr. Catherine Woteki, USDA Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet with 70 private sector representatives at the first Feed the Future Public-Private Partnership Technical Forum, hosted jointly by USDA, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Department of State at the White House Conference Center. We discussed potential partnerships to increase agricultural growth in developing countries. Then we rolled up our sleeves got to work aligning investments and connecting individuals and activities. Read more »
Trevor Nichols (left), Chief Executive Officer, Centre for Agricultural Bioscience CABI-Plantwise and Dr. Catherine Woteki (right), Undersecretary, Research Education and Economics signed a Memorandum of Understanding to make the United States Department of Agriculture’s research and genetic information accessible to “plant doctors” working to prevent disease and pests in developing countries at the United States Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, February 7, 2012.
As USDA celebrates 150 years of serving American agriculture and rural communities, it is important to remember the enormous contribution of the Cooperative Extension Service, a three-way partnership between USDA and our state and county partners that forms a nationwide network of expertise. These experts work with Americans on issues that relate to a wide range of topics including: agriculture, natural resource management, nutrition, youth development, community empowerment, household and family budgeting, and disaster assistance, among others. Read more »
With food, agriculture, and natural resources at the center of many of the biggest challenges we face today, nothing is more critical than making sure our agricultural system is based on sound science. As USDA’s Chief Scientist one of my responsibilities is making sure our Department’s research system maintains the highest standards of what is known as “scientific integrity.” Scientific integrity includes making sure that scientific research proceeds free of outside influence or coercion, and that scientific findings are not suppressed or altered.
I am pleased to say that Secretary Vilsack has recently released a policy on scientific integrity, and charged me to implement it across the Department. This policy follows directly from the guidance provided by President Obama and the further guidance from Dr. John Holdren, Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
The policy directs everyone at USDA – career employees, political appointees, and contractors who are involved in developing or applying science – on the proper conduct and use of science. Read more »
Last week, I was in South Carolina to see some of the work being done by USDA’s scientists at the U. S. Vegetable Laboratory, where researchers strive to improve vegetable yields and quality. Any chef will tell you great meals begin with high quality ingredients, and nutritionists will add that a colorful meal is a nutrient-dense meal. On my way to the lab, I stopped at a place that is focused on that good food equation, especially using locally sourced produce: The Culinary Institute of Charleston at Trident Technical College. Read more »
This week I had the opportunity to meet with representatives from the 1890 land-grant institutions from across the country to begin a new dialogue and chart a new course together to help ensure that American agriculture remains productive, prosperous, and sustainable. These institutions, historically black universities that were established under the Second Morrill Act of 1890, are critical to USDA research and to the vitality of U.S. agriculture. Read more »