USDA announced the appointment of nine members to the National Genetic Resources Advisory Council (NGRAC), a council originally established statutorily by the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C.A. 5843).

The NGRAC has been re-established to formulate recommendations on actions and policies for the collection, maintenance, and utilization of genetic resources; to make recommendations for coordination of genetic resources plans of several domestic and international organizations; and to advise the Secretary of Agriculture and the National Genetic Resources Program (NGRP) Director of new and innovative approaches to genetic resources conservation. The NGRAC will advise on ways to ensure that the NGRP serves the needs of all farmers for high-quality and diverse seed (both genetically engineered and non-genetically engineered) for their particular farming operations. The NGRAC will also advise on how the department can develop a broad strategy for maintaining plant biodiversity available to agriculture, and strengthening public sector plant breeding capacities.

The following members were appointed for either a 2-, or 4-year term effective Oct. 1, 2011:

Scientific Members

  • Dr. Manjit Misra (NGRAC Chair), Professor/Director of the Seed Science Center Institute for Food Safety and Security as well as the Director of the Biosafety Institute for Genetically Modified Agricultural Products (BIGMAP) at Iowa State University. 
  • Dr. Jane Dever, Associate Professor of Plant Breeding at Texas AgriLife Research with Texas A&M University.
  • Dr. Karen Moldenhauer, Professor & Rice Industry Chair for Variety Development, University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.
  • Dr. Stephen Smith, Fellow of Pioneer Hi-Bred International (a DuPont business).
  • Dr. Allison Snow, Professor of the Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology at The Ohio State University.
  • Dr. Mulumebet Worku, Animal Scientist/Professor/Biotechnologist with North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.
  • General Public Members
  • Matthew Dillon, Director of Seed Matters, Clif Bar Family Foundation.
  • Dr. Herman Warren, President of Warren and Associates Seeds.
  • Terry Williams, Fisheries and Natural Resources Commissioner for the Tulalip Tribes.

In addition to the appointed members, 8 ex-officio members have been invited to participate as members, or to nominate alternates to serve in their place, of the NGRAC including:

  • Dr. Peter Bretting, National Program Leader, Office of National Programs, USDA - Agricultural Research Service (ARS). 
  • Dr. Sharlene C. Weatherwax, Associate Director of Science for Biological and Environmental Research, Office of Science, US Department of Energy representing the Secretary of Energy.
  • Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health.
  • Dr. John Holdren, Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
  • Dr. Simon Liu, Director of the National Agricultural Library.
  • Dr. Gary Pederson, Supervisory Geneticist for the USDA-ARS.
  • Dr. Subra Suresh, Director of the National Science Foundation.
  • Dr. Catherine Woteki, Under Secretary for the USDA Research, Education, and Economics Mission Area and the USDA Chief Scientist.