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News and Reports > Weller Named NRCS Chief

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has appointed Jason Weller the chief of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

USDA did not announce the appointment, but Ann Mills, the acting undersecretary for natural resources and environment, sent conservation leaders an email late Thursday informing them of it.

Weller has been the acting chief since Dave White left the chief’s post, and Mills noted that he had also been White’s chief of staff and acting associate chief of conservation. She also noted that Weller has been a staff member of the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, served on the House Budget Committee staff, and worked at the Office of Management and Budget where he was NRCS’s budget examiner.

Weller is a native of northern California. Before coming to Washington, he worked for several years with the California State Legislature on natural resource conservation and environmental protection issues.

He earned his undergraduate degree from Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., and a graduate degree in public policy from the University of Michigan.

National Association of Conservation Districts President Earl Garber praised the appointment, saying that NACD had worked closely with Weller for years.

“With pending appropriations bills and Congress’ continuing failure to pass a farm bill, there is a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the future of critical tools and funding to support successful locally-led conservation efforts across the nation,” Garber said.

“At the same time, we are faced with a number of serious challenges impacting our natural resource base, including drought, wildfires, and other severe weather events, in addition to the need to feed the world’s growing population in a sustainable manner,” Garber said. “For all of these reasons, it is important that NRCS has permanency and stability in place to provide strong leadership from the agency level. We are confident that new Chief Jason Weller will provide just this type of leadership.”

Delta Council past-President and Coahoma County Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioner Bowen Flowers commented, “Weller is a champion of working lands conservation and understands the important role producers and landowners can play in assuring both economic and environmental sustainability. Delta producers and landowners are fortunate to have Weller at the helm.”