WASHINGTON – Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman announced the appointment of Edward B. Knipling as administrator of USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and Antoinette A. Betschart and Caird E. Rexroad Jr. as associate administrators.

"Ed Knipling has provided valuable experience in leading ARS in an acting position," said Veneman. "We appreciate his continued willingness to serve in this leadership position."

Knipling has served as ARS's acting administrator since December 2001. He has worked at ARS in various positions since joining the agency in 1968. As administrator, Knipling is responsible for managing USDA's main in-house scientific research agency, with over 2,100 scientists and 8,000 total employees in more than 100 locations throughout the United States and overseas.

Dr. Knipling is a native of Texas, but grew up primarily in the Washington, D.C. area. He earned his B.S. in 1961 in forestry from Virginia Tech University. He received his M.A. in 1963 and Ph.D. in 1966 in plant physiology from Duke University.

He began his career with the USDA/ARS as a research plant physiologist in Gainesville, Fla. He has also served as area director for ARS in Stoneville, Miss., from 1975 to 1978 and in Fresno, Calif. from1978 to 1982. He was associate deputy administrator of the ARS National Program Staff, Beltsville, Md., from 1982 to 1988.

He also has served as director of the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center and as deputy administrator of the National Program Staff in Beltsville. He was acting administrator for ARS from October 1996 to November 1997 and associate administrator of ARS in December 1997.

Veneman also announced that Caird E. Rexroad Jr. will be ARS associate administrator for National Programs. Rexroad will be responsible for management of scientific research through the ARS National Program Staff. Rexroad has been acting associate administrator since 2001. He has been working in various positions with ARS since 1974.

Dr. Rexroad is a native of West Virginia. He completed his undergraduate studies in Animal Science at West Virginia University (1968). Following military service, he obtained a Ph.D. in Reproductive Physiology-Endocrinology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1970-1974).

Veneman also said that Antoinette A. Betschart will move from area director of the ARS Pacific West Area to be associate administrator for Research Operations and Management. She will oversee many functions within ARS, including technology transfer and scientific quality review.

Dr. Betschart, a native of California, received a B.S. degree in foods and nutrition from the University of California, Davis, CA (1960), M.S. in human nutrition from Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR (1966) and Ph.D. in food biochemistry and nutrition from Cornell University, Ithaca, NY (1971).

E-mail: flaws@primediabusiness.com