Dr. Carrie Castille was appointed to a six-year term as director of the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), which began on January 4, 2021.
A Louisiana native, Castille has championed agriculture and rural issues for more than 20 years. She has spent her career working in the agriculture industry, education and policy, including serving as Natural Resource Leader and Assistant Professor at Louisiana State University and Associate Commissioner and Science Advisor to the Commissioner for the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry.
In 2017, Castille joined USDA as state director for Louisiana Rural Development. In 2019, she was named the mid-south coordinator for USDA’s Farm Production and Conservation mission area serving Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee and Missouri.
Prior to joining USDA, she was appointed by USDA Secretary Vilsack to the National Agriculture Research, Extension, Education, and Economics (NAREEE) advisory board from 2010 – 2017. During her term, she served as Chair of the NAREEE board, and contributed to many organizations, including the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ Council on Agriculture Research, Extension, and Teaching. In 2014, Castille was appointed to the National Council for Environmental Policy and Technology by EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.
From 2010-2015, Castille was a member of the National Food Animal Veterinary Institute Board of Directors. She is also a past chair of the Southern US Trade Association Operations Committee and a Fellow of the Food Systems Leadership Institute.
During her career, Castille received the Secretary’s Award of Excellence in 2003 from Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman for development of the Louisiana Master Farmer Program and the Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Rural Development in 2018 from Secretary Sonny Perdue. In 2017, she was the first female inducted into the University of Louisiana Lafayette College of Engineering Hall of Distinction. She also will be the first female to serve as NIFA director in a non-acting capacity.
Castille holds a Ph.D. in renewable natural resources, with emphasis on environmental and public policy, from Louisiana State University, a master’s degree in environmental studies from Louisiana State University and a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.