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Thomas Shanower replaces Sonny Ramaswamy at USDA NIFA

Shaver raised in Naperville, Illinois, and has master's in entomology from University of Illinois.

Thomas Shanower will become Acting Director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, replacing outgoing NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy.

Ramaswamy is leaving on May 5 to become the CEO of Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

“Dr. Shanower brings more than 20 years of experience in scientific research and management, and he will maintain a steady hand at the helm of NIFA,” said Chavonda Jacobs-Young, USDA Acting Deputy Undersecretary for Research, Education, Economics and Acting Chief Scientist. “NIFAs’ support of the best and brightest scientists has resulted in groundbreaking discoveries that combat childhood obesity, improve rural economic growth, address water availability issues, increase food production, explore new sources of energy, mitigate climate variability and ensure food safety. We salute Dr. Ramaswamy for his tireless enthusiasm at NIFA in support of agriculture-related research and education.”
Shanower comes to the post from the Agricultural Research Service, where he served as the Associate Area Director for the Pacific West Area. From 2007 to 2015, he served as the Center Director for ARS’ Center for Grain and Animal Health Research in Manhattan, Kansas.
Raised in Naperville, Illinois, Shanower received a B.S. in Biology from Marietta College in Ohio, followed by a M.S. in Entomology from the University of Illinois. As a member of the Peace Corps, he worked for the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forests in the Kingdom of Tonga (South Pacific). After returning to the United States, he attended the University of California, Berkeley and received a Ph.D. in Entomology. 
Shanower worked at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics in Hyderabad, India, and the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture in Cotonou, Bénin, West Africa. In 1998, he accepted a research entomologist position at the Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory in Sidney, Montana, where his personal research focused on biological control of the wheat stem sawfly. He was research leader for the Pest Management Research Unit at NPARL from 2000 to 2007.



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