NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr
Matthew Lohr was appointed to serve as chief of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in December of 2018. In this role, Lohr oversees the 3,000 NRCS field offices and their employees across the nation.
Lohr was raised in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley on a century farm and now operates Valley Pike Farm, Inc., with his wife Beth and their six children. He previously served in Virginia’s House of Delegates from 2006-2010 and as Virginia’s Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services from 2010 to 2013. In recent years, Lohr worked as knowledge center director for Farm Credit of the Virginias and has been farming full-time on the family operation since June 2017, raising poultry, beef cattle, row crops and sweet corn.
Lohr will be providing the closing keynote address on Tuesday, Feb. 11, during the general session. He will also be presenting the 2019 Earth Team Award, Olin Sims Award and Hugh Hammond Bennett Award for Conservation Excellence during Tuesday night’s Appreciation Banquet.
FFAR Scientific Program Director Dr. LaKisha Odom
Dr. LaKisha Odom is a Scientific Program Director at the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) where she pursues her commitment to promoting the use of innovative science, collective impact and the development of public-private partnerships to tackle today’s complex challenges in food and agriculture. She is also extremely committed to cultivating increased diversity in a new generation of food and agriculture scientists.
At FFAR, Dr. Odom spearheads the scientific direction of the Soil Health challenge area, and manages a portfolio of projects that address issues in sustainable water management, plant efficiency, ecosystem services, crop pest and disease detection, while also developing the next generation of food and agricultural leaders.
Dr. Odom received her B.S. in environmental science from Tuskegee University, her M.A. in environmental resource policy from The George Washington University and her Ph.D. in integrative biosciences from Tuskegee University.
WFF Senior Program Officer Moira Mcdonald
Moira Mcdonald is a senior program officer for the Environment Program at the Walton Family Foundation, where she leads the foundation’s Mississippi River and coastal initiatives. Mcdonald has more than 18 years’ experience in wetlands and freshwater conservation and previously managed Mississippi River and Great Lakes programs at the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
Mcdonald received her undergraduate degree in environmental science and Russian studies from Brown University and has a master’s and a Ph.D. in geography from the University of Minnesota.