The Environmental Farming Act Science Advisory Panel (Science Panel), appointed by CDFA Secretary Karen Ross, has the critical job of assessing and documenting agriculture’s positive impacts on the environment. The group examines issues like ecosystem services and how they relate to agriculture. The panel has also been responsible for developing the framework for the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) and the Healthy Soils Program (HSP) – two new incentive programs designed to reduced atmospheric greenhouse gases, save water, sequester carbon and increase soil health.
Luana Kiger, Special Assistant to the State Conservationist for the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in California, is one of the founding members of the Science Panel, and her service concludes July 3 when she retires as a federal employee.
“NRCS California, under the leadership of State Conservationist Carlos Suarez, has been an incredible partner for us and Luana has provided many hours of time and advice as we worked to build our incentive programs” said Secretary Ross.
Science Panel chair Don Cameron said, “Luana has been a very engaging member of the Science Panel and provided lots of good direction on our programs. We are going to miss her participation but we are happy she is beginning a new chapter of her life.”
Ms. Kiger has also helped the Science Panel make important connections with other technical staff in NRCS and other federal agencies.
“Having a key contact person with the right technical expertise at the federal level who can not only provide advice to you but also connect you to other pertinent technical and policy staff is key to getting things done in a timely manner,” said Dr. Amrith Gunasekara, CDFA’s liaison to the science panel and science adviser to the secretary.