USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) issued a release that says Jason Weller has been named the acting NRCS chief, beginning Dec. 4, 2012. He will replace the agency's current chief, Dave White, who has announced his retirement, effective Dec. 3.

As a career NRCS conservationist, White has provided technical and management expertise in Missouri, South Carolina, Washington, D.C. and Montana. He also served on the Senate Agriculture Committee, where he helped craft the Conservation Title for both the 2002 and 2008 Farm Bills. He also served on the White House Task Force for Livable Communities during the Clinton Administration.

Weller was appointed White's chief of staff in 2009. Since then, he has been involved in every major NRCS policy decision. Prior to joining NRCS, Weller worked as a staff member for the Senate Agriculture Committee; the House Budget Committee, where he helped to construct the annual congressional budget for agriculture, environment and energy programs; and the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture. For five years, Weller worked with the White House Office of Management and Budget, where he assisted with the development and implementation of the USDA conservation programs budget.   

"USA Rice holds Chief White in the highest regard for his close work with producers over the past four years and for implementing successful conservation programs that advanced agricultural stewardship and benefited natural resources. We very much look forward to working closely with and assisting Acting Chief Jason Weller on rice-industry conservation issues. We wish him every success in his new role," said Leo LeGrande, U.S. Rice Producers' Group Conservation Committee chairman.