NASDA to Honor Exemplary Agriculture Leaders at 100th Anniversary Meeting

Press Release -

Lincoln, NE

At the annual meeting of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) in Lincoln, Nebraska this week, top employees of three state departments of agriculture will be honored for their service, communication, and administration to their state.

“NASDA’s Honor Awards Program provides our members the opportunity to nationally recognize their staff for their work in service to agriculture. Our award recipients are public servants who are critical components to the advancement of NASDA and U.S. agriculture,” said NASDA President and Nebraska Director of Agriculture Greg Ibach.

Forging new partnerships for sound ag policy relies on generous stakeholders. New to NASDA’s Honor Awards Program in 2016 is the Ambassador’s Circle Award. This award was established to recognize an external stakeholder to NASDA who has provided exemplary dedication to NASDA’s mission and strategic intent. The Honorable Michael Scuse, Acting Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), is the inaugural recipient of the award.


Deputy Secretary Scuse has demonstrated unparalleled dedication and support for NASDA, tirelessly advocated for the role of states in federal policy making, and provided distinguished leadership for U.S. agriculture. Prior to beginning his service at the USDA, Deputy Secretary Scuse served as the Delaware Secretary of Agriculture and was the Vice President of NASDA’s Board of Directors in 2009. His leadership, personal effort, and dedication have undoubtedly contributed to successful policy out comes for NASDA.

The James A. Graham Award for Outstanding Service is awarded to the Iowa Avian Influenza Incident Management Team (IIMT). Members of the team include Steve Moline, Food Safety and Animal Health Division Director; Dr. David Schmitt, State Veterinarian for Iowa; Dr. Jeff Kaisand, Assistant State Veterinarian for Iowa; and Robin Pruisner, Ag Security Coordinator. The IIMT worked diligently throughout the entire 2015 H5N2 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) outbreak to assist producers in depopulation, disposal, and cleaning of infected facilities. The IIMT also shared their experiences with other states responding, or preparing to respond, to an HPAI outbreak.

HPAI Honor Award.jpg

The Honor Award for Communications is awarded to Hector Castro of the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA). Castro’s leadership brought WSDA to record levels of effective communication through community engagement during recent gypsy moth eradication efforts carried out across the state. Castro’s skillfully managed communications helped to avoid widespread public objection – and, in fact garnered widespread support.


The recipient of the Douglass – Irvin Administration Award is John Campbell, the Deputy Commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce. As an advocate for agriculture, Campbell is dedicated to championing issues impacting agriculture at the state and national levels by bringing together producers and industry stakeholders to communicate and work towards a common goal. His leadership beyond the scope of administering a state agency has resulted in improved efficiency and impact to Mississippi’s consumers, farmers, ranchers, and agribusinesses.


NASDA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit association which represents the elected and appointed commissioners, secretaries, and directors of the departments of agriculture in all fifty states and four U.S. territories. To learn more about NASDA, please visit To view a list of previous recipients of the awards, or review the purpose of each award, click here.