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Statement by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Retirement of Agricultural Research Service Administrator Edward B. Knipling

 

WASHINGTON, August 30, 2013— United States Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the following statement on the retirement of Agricultural Research Service Administrator Edward B. Knipling:

"Dr. Edward B. Knipling retires today with 46 years of service to the American people through the advancement of science. In a prestigious career devoted to the Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, he has held positions throughout the agency, serving as ARS Administrator since 2004.

Dr. Knipling has guided nearly 2,000 scientists with a focus on ARS as the working arm of USDA science and an organization of national responsibility. In 1997, he helped spearhead the National Research Programs that provide organizational structure to approximately 800 ongoing research projects. He has created an environment in which science can flourish and researchers can innovate to address the nation's most pressing issues.

Under his leadership, ARS has developed a globally recognized program of breeding and genetics for plants and animals. Crops improved by ARS for disease resistance—against the devastating wheat disease, Ug99, for example—and genetic markers developed for animal selection have advanced U.S. agriculture and improved lives worldwide. Responding to modern health concerns, Dr. Knipling has heightened the focus of ARS science on nutrition and childhood obesity.

Dr. Knipling's retirement brings to a close about eight decades of Knipling family service to ARS and USDA. His father, famed ARS entomologist Dr. Edward F. Knipling, made vast contributions to U.S. agriculture – including development of the technology that led to the eradication of the screwworm from the United States, Mexico, and Central America.

On behalf of USDA, I am deeply grateful to Dr. Knipling for his service and leadership, and for the contributions of the Knipling family to the science that stands behind the progress of American agriculture and the well-being of our citizens."