New NIFA Director Announced
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that Dr. Carrie Castille was selected to serve as the permeant director of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), effective January 4, 2021. Castille has worked on agriculture and rural issues for almost 20 years. She will be the first woman to serve as NIFA director in a non-acting capacity.
Castille holds a Ph.D. in Renewable Natural Resources (with emphasis on environmental and public policy) from Louisiana State University (LSU), an M.S. degree in Environmental Studies from LSU, and a B.S. degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
“Dr. Castille is a trusted leader in economic development and public policy and has more than 20 years’ experience in the agricultural sector. Her passion for agricultural research, teaching, and extension will enable NIFA to continue its transformation as a premier science agency,” said USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, in a press release. “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 USDA in 2017 and served as the State Director for Louisiana Rural Development and was named as the mid-south coordinator for the USDA’s Farm Protection and Conservation (FPAC) mission area in 2019. Dr. Castille was also appointed by USDA Secretary Vilsack to the National Agriculture Research, Extension, Education, and Economics (NAREEE) advisory board from 2010 – 2017. Dr. Castille previously served as Assistant Professor and Agriculture and Natural Resource Leader at LSU before she was appointed as Associate Commissioner and Senior Advisor to the Commissioner for the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry.
Dr. Castille performed well at the USDA and made a substantial impact, earning the Secretary’s Award of Excellence (2003) and the Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Rural Development (2018). She was also the first woman inducted into the University of Louisiana Lafayette College of Engineering Hall of Distinction in 2017.