Under Secretary of Agriculture for Research, Education, and Economics

The Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics is a high-ranking official within the United States Department of Agriculture that provides leadership and oversight for the Agricultural Research Service, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Economic Research Service, National Agricultural Library, National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The Research, Education, and Economics (REE) mission area of the U. S. Department of Agriculture has Federal leadership responsibility for Advancing scientific knowledge related to agriculture through research, extension, and education.[1]

REE delivers the scientific discovery mission of USDA through:

  • The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is the largest intramural research agency of USDA. ARS has a workforce of around 8,000 employees, including 2,500 life and physical scientists who represent a wide range of disciplines and who work at more than 100 locations across the country and at five overseas laboratories. The ARS research agenda is broad, with about 1,200 research projects organized under 4 major program areas: Nutrition, Food Safety and Food Quality; Animal Production and Protection; Natural Resources and Sustainable Agricultural Systems; and Crop Production and Protection.
  • The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is USDA’s primary extramural research funding agency. Its mission is to advance knowledge for agriculture, the environment, and human health and wellbeing by funding targeted research, education, and extension projects and programs, some of which are specific to the Land-Grant University System, others open to participation by other partner organizations.
  • The Economic Research Service (ERS) is USDA’s primary source of economic information and economic and social science research. ERS’ mission is to anticipate economic and policy issues related to food, agriculture, the environment, and rural development, and conduct research that guides public program and policy decisions.
  • The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is committed to providing timely, accurate, and useful statistics in service to U.S. agriculture. Its reports cover virtually every aspect of U.S. agriculture, including production and supplies of food and fiber, prices paid and received by farmers, farm labor and wages, farm finances, chemical use, and changes in the demographics of U.S. producers.

As of November 2019, Dr. Scott Hutchins is the Deputy Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics and acting Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics.[2] Dr. Catherine Woteki was Under Secretary, as well as the Department's Chief Scientist,[3] after she was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on September 16, 2010 until December 2016.

On July 19, 2017, President Donald Trump announced his intent to nominate Sam Clovis of Iowa for the position. At the time, Clovis was Senior White House Advisor to the Department of Agriculture and was formerly chief policy advisor and national co-chair of the Trump-Pence campaign.[4][5] According to Ricardo Salvador, Food and Environment Program Director for the science advocacy group Union of Concerned Scientists, Clovis lacks the traditional technological and scientific background of the post and is a self-proclaimed climate change skeptic.[6] Clovis withdrew his nomination on November 2, 2017.[7]

Appointees who have resigned


  1. Monke, Jim (October 6, 2016). Agricultural Research: Background and Issues (PDF). Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  2. "Agency Biographies". Retrieved November 7, 2019.
  3. "Dr. Cathie Woteki, Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics". REE Biographies. U.S. Department of Agriculture. July 29, 2016. Archived from the original on July 31, 2016. Retrieved August 10, 2017.
  4. "President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Nominate Personnel to Key Administration Posts". White House Office of the Press Secretary. July 19, 2017. Archived from the original on October 10, 2017. Retrieved August 10, 2017.
  5. Heller, Marc (July 19, 2017). "Updated: Trump pick for USDA science post has drawn darts for lack of technical background". Science. AAAS. Retrieved August 10, 2017.
  6. Eberhardt, Robin (July 20, 2017). "Trump picks climate change doubter for USDA science job". The Hill. Retrieved August 10, 2017.
  7. Perez, Evan (November 2, 2017). "Trump nominee for top Agriculture post withdraws amid Russia probe". CNN. Retrieved November 2, 2017.

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