WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced the appointment of 12 new members to serve on the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board.

This board advises the secretary of agriculture and land-grant colleges and universities on national priorities and policies for food and agricultural research, education programs, extension outreach efforts and economic research programs.

"We appreciate the contributions that these individuals are making through this advisory board." Johanns said. "Their expertise and advice helps to ensure that USDA programs remain relevant to current agricultural issues and provide guidance on our many research and outreach activities."

In addition to providing policy guidance to USDA, board members meet with congress, hold stakeholder listening sessions, review competitive-grant programs, and conduct an annual review of USDA research and education activities for relevance to national priorities and adequacy of funding. The board members advise USDA's REE under secretary on the mission area's draft strategic plan.

The board is made up of 31 members, each of whom represents a specific category of U.S. agricultural stakeholders as outlined in the 1996 and 2002 farm bill. Each new member serves a 3-year appointment with the exception of Category CC which is a 2-year appointment effective Oct. 1, 2006.

Terms for members overlap, so every year a third of the board is newly appointed.

the list of newly appointed members by category is online.

For more information on the NAREEE Advisory Board Office, contact Joe Dunn at 202-720-8408; fax: 202-720-6199; e-mail: joseph.dunn@usda.gov.

SOURCE: USDA news release.