President Obama plans to nominate Homer Lee Wilkes, state conservationist for Mississippi, to be USDA’s under secretary for natural resources and environment. If confirmed by the Senate, Wilkes will oversee all of USDA’s soil and water conservation activities.

“For nearly 30 years, Homer has worked for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service where he has been dedicated to conserving and improving the environment in multiple states,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “It would be a privilege to have a public servant like Homer join the USDA leadership team.”

The Natural Resources Conservation Service is the primary federal agency that works with private landowners to help them conserve, maintain and improve their natural resources. The agency emphasizes voluntary science-based conservation, technical assistance, partnerships, incentive-based programs, and cooperative problem solving at the community level.

Wilkes is a 28-year veteran of the NRCS, currently serving as state conservationist in Mississippi where he administers the natural resources conservation program for the state. He has also served as a budget officer for NRCS in Amherst, Mass., the assistant financial manager and fiscal specialist for NRCS in Washington, and served as the chief of administrative staff for the South Technical Center for NRCS in Fort Worth, Texas.

Wilkes received his bachelors, masters of business administration and Ph.D. in Urban Conservation Planning and Higher Education from Jackson State University.

Wilkes and his wife, Kim, have three sons, Justin, Austin, and Harrison. They presently reside in Madison, Miss., and are members of New Hope Baptist Church.

He enjoys fishing and family activities.