Scott Hutchins, a private-sector entomologist who has worked in partnership with the University of Nebraska–Lincoln for more than a decade, has been selected to become the USDA’s top science official.
Hutchins, global leader of integrated field sciences for Corteva Agriscience, a division of DowDuPont, has served since 1997 as an adjunct professor with Nebraska’s Department of Entomology. In that role, he helped the department develop a vision and strategic plan for serving Nebraskans and positioning the department to be a leader among its peers.
Hutchins was also instrumental in developing the university’s public-private partnership with Dow to support graduate education and professional development opportunities for faculty and students.
Tiffany Heng-Moss, interim dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and a professor of entomology, said Hutchins’ work with Nebraska has demonstrated his commitment to education and his appreciation for the university’s land-grant mission.
“He has made an important difference to our program here at Nebraska and helped the Department of Entomology define its future and role in preparing graduates whose leadership, discovery and innovation shape society” she said. “He is committed to serving our global society.”
A resident of Carmel, Indiana, Hutchins served as president of the Entomological Society of America in 2007. He is an expert in agricultural and urban pest management product characterization and development, and in integrated pest management and economic entomology. He holds a bachelor’s degree in entomology from Auburn University, a master’s degree from Mississippi State University and a doctorate from Iowa State University.
The university’s entomology department, which focuses on insects and their interactions with plants, animals and humans, dedicates significant resources to issues affecting crops, livestock and human health in Nebraska. Efforts include providing information about current and emerging pest species and insecticide resistance. The department is active in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education in K-12 schools and offers extensive online entomological education programs.
The White House announced July 16 that the president intended to nominate Hutchins to be undersecretary of agriculture for research, education and economics at the department of Agriculture. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said Hutchins “extensive background in research and commitment to sound science and data make him exceptionally qualified for this post.”
If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Hutchins would oversee the Agricultural Research Service, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the Economic Research Service and the National Agricultural Statistics Service.
Gary Brewer, head of entomology, said Hutchins has contributed significantly to Nebraska’s program. His workshops and planning sessions helped position the department to meet the needs of agricultural producers and to provide career pathways to Nebraska students.
“He is a great strategic planner,” Brewer said. “It would be very appropriate for Scott to be the chief scientist at the USDA.”