NGRA President Appointed to USDA Research Advisory Board

Also Tapped as Advisor to Specialty Crop Committee

SACRAMENTO, CA, November 5, 2021 — The National Grape Research Alliance (NGRA) is proud to announce that its President, Donnell Brown, is one of 14 appointees to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics (NAREEE) Advisory Board. As part of her three-year appointment, Donnell also will serve as one of two advisors to the Advisory Board’s Specialty Crop Committee (SCC). USDA announced the appointments on October 28, 2021.

NAREEE Advisory Board members are selected and appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture. The NAREEE Advisory Board provides feedback to the Secretary as well as to 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. The Advisory Board also provides reports and recommendations to the appropriate agricultural committees of the U.S. Congress. The Committees of the Board, including the SCC, Citrus Disease Subcommittee and National Genetic Resources Advisory Council, carry out NAREEE Board activities in their respective agricultural science areas.

“As the unified voice for research of the national grape and wine industry, NGRA serves a unique role for our industry. As such, we are thrilled—but not surprised—that NGRA President Donnell Brown has received this important appointment,” said Russ Smithyman, chairman of the NGRA Board of Directors. “She will serve as a conduit between the grape and wine industry and the USDA on critical matters that inform and impact grape research.”

Each NAREEE Advisory Board member represents a category of the American agricultural stakeholder landscape. Donnell was selected to represent “Industry Consumer or Rural Interests.” Other categories include farming or ranching, food production and processing, forestry research, crop and animal science, land-grant institutions, non-land-grant colleges or universities with a historic commitment to research in food and agricultural sciences, and natural resources and consumer interest groups. See all NAREEE Advisory Board appointees, listed by category.

Donnell said, “I am humbled and excited to have been appointed by Secretary Vilsack. I look forward to working with my fellow appointees on both the NAREEE Advisory Board and Specialty Crop Committee to
contribute to sound science and effective federal agricultural research, education and economics programs through the feedback of grape growers, producers, processors and other agricultural stakeholders nationwide.”


In 2005, the National Grape Research Alliance (NGRA) was organized to drive research to strengthen the productivity, sustainability and competitiveness of America’s grape industries. The group unites all grape sectors including raisin, juice, table and wine grapes together with researchers and grant funders in a unique collaborative effort that focuses on game-changing, national-level research. For more information, visit