Cosby appointed as new NRCS chief


The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced the appointment of Terry Cosby as chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Washington, D.C. He began his position on Monday, May 24.

NRCS Chief Cosby began his career with the agency in 1979 as a student trainee in Iowa.

He was raised on a cotton farm with his eight siblings in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi, so his love for the land began at an early age. The farm, now in his family for three generations, was purchased by his great-grandfather in the late 1800s.

Cosby holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Education from Alcorn State University, the first black land grant college established in the United States, and resides in Ohio with his wife Brenda and their four children. 

“The leadership and expertise of Terry will play an integral role in USDA’s efforts to provide personnel, science, and technology that will lead to better-informed and more effective land management decisions; partnerships to address climate adaptation, conservation, and ecological resilience; and clean energy technology and infrastructure,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “We are fortunate to have him on our team.”

Over Terry’s 42 years with the agency, he has served in numerous capacities. He had been the State Conservationist for Ohio since 2005. Prior to serving as Ohio State Conservationist, he has served in leadership in Iowa, Missouri, and Idaho. 

One of Terry’s proudest achievements is the instrumental role he played in establishing the Ohio Interagency Forestry Team and in the formation of its governance model and business plan. Under his leadership, Ohio was the first state to use Environmental Quality Incentive Program funds for forestry practices.

Terry and his wife Brenda are the proud parents of four children. Today he continues to hunt and fish as much as possible and greatly enjoys spending time with his seven young grandchildren.

I am especially proud NRCS not only has chosen a Mississippian for its chief, but one of the caliber as Chief Crosby. I commend Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsak and Undersecretary Robert Bonnie for this excellent appointment.

James L. Cummins is executive director of Wildlife Mississippi, a non-profit, conservation organization founded to conserve, restore, and enhance fish, wildlife, and plant resources throughout Mississippi. Their website is


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