Carrie Castille to serve six-year term as director of NIFA. Photo courtesy of USDA.

WASHINGTON, DC, US — US President Donald Trump has named Carrie Castille, PhD, as the new, six-year term director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, effective Jan. 4, 2021. She will be the first female to serve as NIFA director in a non-acting capacity.

NIFA’s mission is to invest in and advance agricultural research, education, and extension to solve societal challenges. NIFA’s investments in transformative science directly support the long-term prosperity and global preeminence of US agriculture.

“Dr. Castille is a trusted leader in economic development and public policy and has more than 20 years’ experience in the agricultural sector,” said US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “Her passion for agricultural research, teaching, and extension will enable NIFA to continue its transformation as a premier science agency. She will bring strong leadership to NIFA as they continue to build and strengthen partnerships with our public land-grant universities and agricultural institutions across the nation.”

Castille joined the US Department of Agriculture in 2017 as state director for Louisiana Rural Development, and in 2019 was named as the mid-south (Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee and Missouri) coordinator for the USDA’s Farm Production and Conservation mission area. Earlier, she was an assistant professor and agriculture and natural resource leader at Louisiana State University (LSU) prior to serving as associate commissioner and senior adviser to the commissioner for the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry.

In addition, Castille was appointed by then USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to the National Agriculture Research, Extension, Education, and Economics (NAREEE) advisory board from 2010-17. During this period, she was chair of the NAREEE board, and also contributed to many organizations, including the American Public and Land Grant University Council on Agriculture Research, Extension, and Teaching.

She received a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, a master’s degree in environmental studies at LSU, and a doctorate in renewable natural resources (with emphasis on environmental and public policy) at LSU.