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Area Director's Office



On This Page:

  • ARS Mission & Vision
  • Meet the Directors
  • Staff

Midwest Area Links:

Welcome to the Midwest Area
Midwest Area Council for Office Professionals
Midwest Area Diversity and Equal Opportunity Council



ARS Mission & Vision


Vision: Leading America towards a better future through agricultural research and information.

Mission: ARS conducts research to develop and transfer solutions to agricultural problems of high national priority and provide information access and dissemination to:



Meet the Directors


 Rosalind James, Area Director

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Dr. Rosalind James is the Midwest Area (MWA) Director, effective July 2, 2023, providing leadership for the Area, which includes 13 research locations in 9 mid-western states.  The MWA strives to deliver cutting-edge, scientific tools and innovative solutions for American farmers, producers, industry, and communities to support the nourishment and well-being of all people.  Our research solutions aim to sustain our nation’s agroecosystems and natural resources, ensure the economic competitiveness and excellence of agriculture, and to find solutions to agricultural problems that affect Americans every day, from field to table. The MWA also provides global leadership in agricultural discovers through scientific excellence. Our scientists frequently collaborate with research partners from universities, companies, other organizations, and other countries. 

Prior to becoming the Area Director, Dr. James served as an ARS Associate Area Director for the Northeast Area for five year. Dr. James first joined ARS in 1997, as an insect pathologist at the Kika de la Garza Sub-tropical Agricultural Research Center in Weslaco, TX, where she worked on developing biological control systems for invasive pests (whiteflies and varroa mites).  Dr. James relocated to the Pollinating Insects Research Unit (Logan, UT) in 2001, where she worked for 14 years, including as the Research Leader for nine years. She is a leading expert on diseases in bees and microbial control of insect pests.  Dr. James served as the ARS National Program Leader for Invasive Pests of Crops for five years (Beltsville, MD), just prior to joining the Northeast Area Office. As National Program Leader she coordinated and directed the ARS research programs on invasive weeds, post-harvest crop protection, and bees and pollinators. Throughout her career, she served as an expert advisor on invasive pests and bee issues to the Environmental Protection Agency, the ARS Administrator, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the White House Office of Science and Technology, and for international organizations such as the National Plant Protection Organization and the Methyl Bromide Technical Advisory Group (part of the Montreal Protocol for the reduction of ozone depleting substances).  She obtained her PhD in entomology from Oregon State University while also working as a contract Senior Scientist at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Research Laboratory in Corvallis, OR. 



 Jay Johnson, Associate Area Director

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Mr. Johnson was appointed as the Midwest Associate Director, effective October 11, 2020. Mr. Johnson received his Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Business Management from the Pennsylvania State University in 1989. He completed the coursework for a Master’s of Statistics at North Carolina State University in 1997.

Mr. Johnson came to ARS from the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), were he served as Director of Eastern Field Operations for NASS in Washington, D.C, responsible for the day-to-day administration for the Field Operations of NASS, comprised of twelve regional field offices representing all 50 States. He previously served as Acting Director of the Census and Survey Division of NASS. He successfully completed the Senior Executive Service Career Development Program and was certified by the Office of Personnel Management in February 2015.

Jay became Director of NASS’s Great Lakes Regional Office in East Lansing, Michigan, in February 2013. This office serves Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. Jay previously served as the State Director for the Agency’s Michigan Field Office from 2011-2013 and was the Acting Regional Director for the Northeastern Region during NASS’s restructure from 46 field offices to 12 Regional Offices.

Prior to his tour in Michigan, Jay served as NASS’s Chief of Staff for 9 years. In this capacity, he served as a senior advisor to the administrator and her senior executive team on budget planning and execution, congressional activities, and day-to-day program and policy decisions which impact the agency.

From January 1999 until his appointment as Chief of Staff, Johnson served as the National Cotton Statistician. From 1997-1999, he completed a tour in NASS’s Research and Development Division as a mathematical statistician exploring the use of an area frame to measure under coverage in the Census of Agriculture. His NASS career began in the summer of 1988 as a student assistant in the Pennsylvania Field Office and subsequent tours of duty in the NASS Indiana and North Carolina Field Offices.


Jeff Vallet, Associate Area Director

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Dr. Jeff Vallet was appointed as the Midwest Associate Director, effective March 15, 2021. Dr. Vallet fills the second Associate Director position in the Midwest Area Director’s Office. Dr. Vallet is no stranger to the Midwest Area previously serving as the Acting Center Director of the US Dairy Forage Laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin in 2018 and as the Acting Associate Director in the Midwest Area Director’s Office in 2019.   

Dr. Vallet received his B.S. degree in 1983 from Cornell University, and his M.S. (1985) and Ph.D. (1988) degrees from the University of Florida. From 1988 to 1990 he was a Research Associate at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom, working on mechanisms of luteolysis and maternal recognition of pregnancy in sheep.  


From 1991 to 2005, he was a Research Physiologist at the US Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center NE, where he investigated factors contributing to uterine capacity in pigs. In 2005, he became Research Leader for the Reproduction Research Unit at the US Meat Animal Research Center. Unit scientists focused on aspects of swine reproductive physiology, swine genomics and beef cattle reproductive physiology. Dr. Vallet’s research contributed significantly to the area of pregnancy physiology in pigs including control of uterine development, control of uterine protein secretion, aspects of fetal development, and factors contributing to placental function. He also performed research on factors influencing preweaning survival in piglets.


Dr. Vallet served as the National Program Leader for Food Animal Production (NP101) and co-led the National Program for Grass, Forage and Rangelands Agroecosystems (NP215) from 2016 to 2021. The National Program for Food Animal Production focuses on research to improve nutritional and reproductive efficiency in livestock, enhance animal welfare, develop genomic selection in livestock, and improve meat quality. The National Program for Grass, Forage and Rangelands Agroecosystems focuses on foundational science, genetic and genomic selection of forage plants, agroecosystem monitoring and modeling, and systemwide management methods to enhance pasture and rangeland function.






Rosalind James
Area Director

Phone: (309) 681 – 6602

Jay V. Johnson
Associate Area Director

(309) 681 – 6601

Jeff Vallet
Associate Area Director

(309) 681 – 6601

Sherri Buxton
Management Analyst

Phone: (309) 681 – 6602

Kenneth Doll
Technology Transfer Coordinator

Phone: (309) 273 – 4298

Babette Davis
Technology Transfer Assistant

Phone: (309) 370-7930

Brittney Jones
Program Analyst

(309) 273-3901 

Christina Brown
Administrative Support Assistant 

Phone: (309) 681 – 6110

Chad Henry
Program Analyst

Phone: (309) 410-4386 

Melinda Nunnally

Outreach Specialist 

Phone: Reach via Teams