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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   


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. 

Caird E. Rexroad, Jr.

Associate Administrator, Research Management and Operations   


Dr. Rexroad is a native of West Virginia. After completion of undergraduate studies in Animal Science at West Virginia University (1968) he served in the U.S. Army (1968-1970). Following military service, he obtained a Ph.D. in Reproductive Physiology-Endocrinology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1970-1974). His professional career has been entirely with the Agricultural Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture. During his career as a bench scientist in ARS (1974-1997), Dr. Rexroad was instrumental in initiating research on the introduction of new genes into farm animals. He served as a member of the research team that reported the first production of transgenic animals. From 1992 to 1997, he served as Research Leader of the Gene Evaluation and Mapping Laboratory. As Research Leader and research collaborator, he directed research on the discovery of DNA markers to improve selection for disease resistance and production traits in dairy cattle. His research has resulted in over one hundred scientific publications and several book chapters. He is active in professional societies and is past-president of the International Embryo Transfer Society. He served as Associate Deputy Administrator for Animal Production, Product Value and Safety on the National Program Staff of the Agricultural Research Service from 1997 to 2002 where he managed programs on animal health, animal production, food safety, and human nutrition. He is the Associate Administrator for the Agricultural Research Service.




Steven R. Shafer
Acting Associate Administrator, National Programs

Dr. Shafer has devoted his entire professional career to public service in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Effective January 2013, he serves as Director of the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, USDA’s largest research installation, encompassing nearly 1000 Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists, support staff, and contractors focusing on plant, animal, natural resources, and sustainable agricultural systems research on a 6600-acre field and laboratory complex just outside Washington, DC.  Prior to his current position, he served (2008-2012) as Deputy Administrator for Natural Resources and Sustainable Agricultural Systems in the ARS Office of National Programs, where he led programmatic planning and oversight for ARS’ research on soil, water, and air resources; global climate change; biofuels; rangelands, pastures, and forages; agricultural and industrial byproduct utilization; and agricultural systems and competitiveness.  During 2009 - 2010, he served concurrently as Senior Advisor for Climate Science in the Office of the Chief Scientist, USDA. He was the ARS Midwest Area Director (2006-2008), following a year 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, Beltsville, MD); Deputy Director for Environment and Plant Health in the USDA Office of Risk Assessment and Cost-Benefit Analysis (1998-2000, Washington, DC); and a plant pest risk analysis specialist in the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (1997-1998, Raleigh, NC).  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 among ozone, acid rain, and carbon dioxide with plants, pathogenic and beneficial microorganisms, and soils.  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.

Last Modified: 3/7/2014
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