National Program Leader
USDA National Institute of Food & Agriculture-Division of Family and Consumer Sciences
Brent Elrod is the National Program Leader – Community Development in the Institute of Youth, Families & Communities for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Mr. Elrod’s work supports a portfolio of research, education, and extension programs that emphasize improving the nation’s health, nutrition, and family and community quality of life in rural America through the coordination of grant programs, resources and partnerships that include Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities for Military Veterans (AgVets), Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network, Farm Stress Employee Training and Technical Assistance, National Sustainability Summit, New Technologies for Agricultural Extension, Regional Rural Development Centers, Partnership and Community Collaboration Training Summits, and Small Business Innovation Research Outreach, Training and Technical Assistance.
In collaboration with the Land-Grant University System, Cooperative Extension Service, federal agencies, and non-governmental organizations, Elrod leads teams that advance the human and social dimensions of food and agricultural sciences. At the agency level, he represents NIFA on the Agriculture and Rural Prosperity Task Force implementation teams, National Science and Technology Policy Subcommittee on Food and Agriculture, Veterans in Agriculture Task Force, and contributes to the Department’s OneUSDA initiative. Elrod serves on the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program team, facilitates the eXtension Advisory Group, and liaises with the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals (NACDEP). He is the NIFA liaison to the University of New Hampshire and several multistate research groups. Elrod was recognized with eXtension’s national Champion Award in 2012, the Harold E. Hughes Award of Excellence for Responsiveness to Rural Issues & Concerns in 2015, the NIFA Partnership Award for Multistate Efforts as liaison to the Stronger Economies Together program in 2015, the 2016 NIFA A.J. Dye Award for Diversity, and the 2017 NACDEP National and Southern Region Awards for Excellence in Teamwork as a member of the Rapid Response Team Regarding Civil Discourse on Race Relations. In 2018, he was honored with the Research, Education, and Economics (REE) Under Secretary’s Award. Elrod is an Equality USDA lifetime member and its 2019 Senior Champion.