NWTF Applauds Appointments of USDA Leadership

5/20/2021

EDGEFIELD, S.C.—The National Wild Turkey Federation supports President Joe Biden’s appointment of two veteran conservationists to the Department of Agriculture.

The USDA announced the appointments of Meryl Harrell as Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment and Terry Cosby as Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

“Both appointees have long track records of working for wildlife, habitat, public and private working lands and our natural resources,” NWTF CEO Becky Humphries said. “We look forward to strengthening our partnerships within the USDA under their leadership.”

Harrell was the executive director of the Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards. She has also served as a consultant, advising nonprofits, foundations and government agencies working to conserve America's public and private working lands. During the Obama Administration, Harrell spent eight years in the Office of Natural Resources and Environment at USDA, including serving as Chief of Staff and then Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary. Harrell previously worked on public lands issues at The Wilderness Society in Washington, D.C.

Cosby has been with USDA since 1979. Over his 42 years with the agency, he has served in numerous capacities, most recently as Acting Chief of NRCS and State Conservationist for Ohio. He served in leadership positions in Iowa as an Area Resource Conservationist, in Missouri as an Assistant State Conservationist for Field Operations and Idaho as a Deputy State Conservationist.

“The NWTF’s conservation team has worked closely with Mr. Cosby over the years, in his role as Ohio State Conservationist and in his national role through the National Forestry Initiative, a partnership between the NRCS and NWTF that provides trained foresters in 24 states to help implement farm bill conservation programs,” Humphries said. “And being a turkey hunter, Mr. Cosby understands the need for good land management for healthy wildlife populations.”

Since the NFI partnership was signed in 2018, the initiative has affected conservation on more than 119,000 acres of privately owned forests across the country.

About the National Wild Turkey Federation

When the National Wild Turkey Federation was founded in 1973, there were about 1.3 million wild turkeys in North America. After decades of work, that number hit a historic high of almost 7 million turkeys. To succeed, the NWTF stood behind science-based conservation and hunters' rights. Today, the NWTF is focused on the future of hunting and conservation through its Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative. Since 2012, this 10-year initiative has already eclipsed goals of conserving or enhancing more than 4 million acres of essential wildlife habitat, recruiting or retaining more than 1.5 million hunters and opening access to more than 500,000 acres for hunting and other recreation opportunities. This critical work will continue to impact wildlife habitat and our great outdoors in the final years of the initiative.