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CVM Dean Neil C. Olson appointed
to USDA Advisory Board

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced the appointment of eight individuals to serve on the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics (NAREEE) Advisory Board.  Dr. Neil Olson, dean of the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, will serve a three-year term on the board representing American colleges of veterinary medicine.

The board advises the secretary of Agriculture and land-grant colleges and universities on top national priorities and policies for food and agricultural research, education, extension and economics.  In addition, the board holds stakeholder listening sessions, reviews draft guidance for competitive-grant programs, advises the Agriculture Research Service on its scientific peer review process for national programs, conducts an annual review of all agricultural research, extension, or education activities conducted or funded by the department for relevance to national priorities and adequacy of funding, and advises the USDA’s Research, Education, and Economics (REE) Mission Area in the development of its draft strategic plan. 

Olson has served as dean of the CVM since 2007. He earned a bachelor's degree in veterinary science in 1973 and a doctor of veterinary medicine in 1975 from the University of Minnesota. He completed a small animal internship at Cornell University in 1976 and a small animal surgery residency at Michigan State University in 1979. He went on to earn a doctorate in physiology from Michigan State University in 1982.

Each of 25 NAREEE advisory board members represents a specific category of U.S. agricultural stakeholders as outlined in the 2008 Food, Energy, and Conservation Act. These areas include farming or ranching, food production and processing, forestry research, crop and animal science, land-grant institutions, non-land grant colleges or universities with a historic commitment to research in the food and agricultural sciences, food retailing and marketing, rural economic development, and natural resource and consumer interest groups, among many others.

Olson was nominated to serve on the board by the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges. He said he is looking forward to the opportunity to represent veterinary medicine as an integral component of agriculture.

“There has to be a balanced perspective of regulations and policy issues controlling the raising and feeding of animals,” he said. “There are animal welfare issues that are also regulated by the USDA. It’s important that a veterinarian serve on the board to represent the profession.”

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Last Update: May 6, 2014