WASHINGTON – Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy is President Obama's pick for director of the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

Dr. Ramaswamy is currently Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State Univ., a position he has held since 2009. He also serves as director of the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station. Previously, he was the associate dean of the Purdue Univ. College of Agriculture and directed the university's agricultural research programs from 2006 to 2009. Before joining the Purdue faculty, Dr. Ramaswamy was a Distinguished Professor and head of the Department of Entomology at Kansas State Univ. from 1997 to 2006. He also served on the faculty of Mississippi State Univ., was a research associate at Michigan State Univ., and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Entomological Society of America. Dr. Ramaswamy earned his B.S. and M.S. in entomology from the Univ. of Agricultural Sciences in Bangalore, India, and earned his Ph.D. in Entomology from Rutgers Univ.

"I welcome the President's intent to appoint Dr. Ramaswamy, a man with a distinguished career as a scientist, professor and leader within higher education, and someone who will surely help to position NIFA as a modern and efficient service organization that is closely in tune with the long-term vitality of the food and agricultural sciences," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "NIFA's work to coordinate federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs in the service of US agriculture is critical to sustaining the important gains made by US agriculture. By investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future — such as global and domestic food security, renewable energy and nutrition — NIFA's work has proven integral to the health and security of all Americans. And I am confident that Dr. Ramaswamy will uphold this vital mission."

NIFA links USDA with land-grant universities and other public and private organizations to advance research, extension and higher education in the food and agricultural sciences and related environmental, social and human sciences.