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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Biographical Sketch of the Administrator's Office
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Chavonda Jacobs-Young, ARS Administrator

Chavonda Jacobs-Young

ARS Administrator    


Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young recently served as ARS Associate Administrator for National Programs, where she led the Office of National Programs which manages the research objectives of the Agency.  She also led the Office of International Research Programs which is responsible for ARS’ liaison with its international partners. 

Prior to moving into her role at ARS, Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young served as the Director of the Office of the Chief Scientist in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where she was responsible for facilitating the coordination of scientific leadership across the Department 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.  She also served as the Acting Director for USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. 

Dr. Jacobs-Young was a senior policy analyst for agriculture in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy where she supported the President’s science adviser and others within the Executive Office of the President on a variety of agricultural scientific activities and worked across the Federal Government to improve interagency cooperation and collaboration on high-priority scientific issues.

Dr. Jacobs-Young is a native of Georgia.  She holds M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Wood and Paper Science and a B.S. degree in Pulp and Paper Science and Technology from North Carolina State University.  She also is a graduate of American University’s Executive Leadership in Public Policy Implementation Program. 

Steven Shafer, Associate Administrator, National Programs 

Steven R. Shafer

Associate Administrator, National Programs   


Dr. Shafer has devoted his entire professional career to public service in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Effective May 2014, he serves as Associate Administrator for National Programs in the Agricultural Research Service.  In this position, he is the senior leader and manager for planning, prioritizing, and budgeting ARS’ comprehensive agricultural research programs.  Prior to this appointment, he was Director of the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (2012-2014), USDA’s largest research installation located just outside Washington, DC.  He served as Deputy Administrator for Natural Resources and Sustainable Agricultural Systems in the ARS Office of National Programs (2008-2012), with concurrent appointment as Senior Advisor for Climate Science in the Office of the Chief Scientist, USDA (2009-2010). He was the ARS Midwest Area Director (2006-2008), following appointment as the Midwest Area’s Associate Director (2005-2006), with senior management responsibilities for all ARS research in 8 states. He was the ARS National Program Leader for Global Change research (2000-2005); Deputy Director for Environment and Plant Health in the USDA Office of Risk Assessment and Cost-Benefit Analysis (1998-2000); and a plant pest risk analyst in the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (1997-1998).  During 1983-1997, he was a Research Plant Pathologist in ARS’ Air Quality-Plant Growth and Development Research Unit at Raleigh, NC, with concurrent faculty appointment in the Plant Pathology and Soil Science departments at North Carolina State University. His research focused on interactions of air quality with plants, pathogenic and beneficial microorganisms, and soils. 


Dr. Shafer received the Senior Executive Service Meritorious Presidential Rank Award in 2011 and the USDA Secretary’s Honor Award in 2012.  He received B.S. Agr. and M.S. degrees from The Ohio State University and a Ph.D. from North Carolina State University, all in plant pathology.  He is a native of Marion, Ohio.

Dr. Andrew C. Hammond 

Andrew C. Hammond (Andy)
Acting Associate Administrator, Research Management and Operations 


Dr. Andrew C. Hammond (Andy) has been in Federal service for 36 years. He served two years in the U.S. Peace Corps (Philippines) and has served 34 years with the USDA, Agricultural Research Service (ARS). He began his career in Beltsville, Maryland as a Research Animal Scientist, followed by 14 years as Research Leader of the Subtropical Agricultural Research Station, Brooksville, Florida. In August 1998, he became the Assistant Area Director for the Pacific West Area and was located at Albany, California. In August 2000, he was appointed Associate Area Director of the South Atlantic Area, stationed at Athens, Georgia. In May, 2004, he transferred back to the Pacific West Area Office as Associate Area Director. And in April 2008 he was named Pacific West Area Director. Andy obtained his B.S. degree in Animal Science from Oregon State University and advanced degrees (M.S. and Ph.D.) in Nutrition from Washington State University. Andy has been married to Renee for 41 years. They have two sons, Andrew (34) and Matthew (32).

Last Modified: 8/21/2014
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