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USDA Secretary Reappoints AAMU Professor to National Committee

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An Alabama A&M University professor of agricultural and applied economics has been re-appointed to an important national advisory committee.


U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has re-appointed Dr. Duncan M. Chembezi to serve a second two-year term on the former’s Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers (ACBFR).  The new term expires in 2015.


The 19-member Committee on which Chembezi continues service advises the Secretary of Agriculture on matters broadly affecting new farmers and ranchers, Chembezi2013.jpg
such as leveraging best practices to enhance USDA goals for new farming and ranching operations.  The Committee also considers goals and objectives needed to carry out the recommendations from the prior term.


Dr. Chembezi directs the Small Farms Research Center in AAMU’s College of Agricultural, Life and Natural Sciences (CALNS), and he also serves as a professor in the College of Business and Public Affairs.


“It’s an honor to serve on the Secretary’s Advisory Committee,” commented Dr. Chembezi.  “My reappointment to the Committee reflects the hard work, dedication and commitment of the entire Committee to the Secretary’s call and charge.”


Chembezi adds that he believes the reappointment reflects the confidence the Secretary has in “on the ground” and “frontline” people who execute the Secretary’s vision and USDA’s mission of meeting every producer’s farming need, including the needs of socially disadvantaged beginning farmers and ranchers.


“AAMU is a national leader in small farms research and outreach,” says Chembezi, who boasts an impressive list of academic and professional accomplishments. “I feel grateful to AAMU and its support of the Small Farms Research Center, along with its many outreach and educational training efforts.”


Chembezi currently sits on the advisory board of the Council on Food, Agricultural, and Resource Economics (C-FARE), a non-profit national organization dedicated to strengthening the national presence of the agricultural and applied economics profession.


He previously has served on the advisory board of the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG), the advisory council of the Southern Region Risk Management Education Center, as well as the advisory committee of the Southern Agricultural Economics Association (SAEA).  In 2009, in recognition of his outstanding professional work, Dr. Chembezi received the Excellence in Extension and Public Service Award from the Southern Rural Sociological Association (SRSA).


In 2012, the professor received a three-year grant of over $650,000 from USDA/NIFA/Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Program (BFRDP) to assist USDA train and grow the next generation of farmers and ranchers.

- Jerome Saintjones
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