Don’t Be a Stranger

Yesterday, the USDA issued a press release, announcing the appointment of 14 people from across the agricultural landscape to the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics (NAREEE) Advisory Board. All 14 were selected and appointed by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Six members were re-appointed, and eight are new.

I am one of the eight.

The NAREEE Advisory Board provides feedback to the Secretary on USDA’s Research, Education, and Economics (REE) mission area, and to land-grant colleges and universities on food and agricultural research, education, extension and economics priorities and policies. In addition, I’ll serve an advisor to the Specialty Crop Committee, which carries out the work of the Board as it relates to grapes and other specialty crops.

In the press release, Secretary Vilsack referred to the NAREEE Board’s role as “pivotal” in shaping the science priorities needed to address the tough challenges ahead. No pressure!

But seriously, I’ll need your help. I want to know what vineyard issues keep you up at night, how our specialty crop can help slow the advance of climate change, what blue-sky innovations you dream about that could change the game for our industry and maybe even for agriculture at large. Let me know what hurdles impede your research; how our needs for scientific study can better align with funding opportunities; how industry, academia and government can work together in new and innovative ways.

Of course, I’ve always needed your insight to help NGRA fulfill its research mission. But now, with the potential to help shape agricultural research, education and economics at the highest level, we can make an even bigger impact.

So, don’t be a stranger. If you have ideas or questions or concerns or, shamelessly, congratulations, I’m all ears.

Donnell Brown