Mark Smith, an Alabama Cooperative Extension System specialist and Mosely Professor in the College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment, has answered the call of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, or USDA, National Wildlife Services Advisory Committee, or NWSAC. Recently appointed by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Smith will serve a twoyear term on this panel to assist those protecting U.S. agricultural resources.
The NWSAC serves as a guiding entity for the USDA’s Wildlife Services program. Housed under the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, or APHIS, this committee will meet to provide input on future policies regarding wildlife, public health and safety.
“I am truly honored to serve on this committee,” Smith said. “The work Wildlife Services does is essential for the coexistence of humans and wildlife. It serves as the cornerstone of contemporary wildlife management in this rapidly
changing world. I look forward to the opportunity to contribute to the goals of the NWSAC.”
Smith began his service with Alabama Extension and Auburn University in 2007 as an Extension specialist and assistant professor of wildlife sciences. He specializes in wildlife damage management but also works with game and nongame habitat management. His research helps people sustain abundant wildlife populations and the environment.
“Mark serves as team program coordinator of our forestry, wildlife and natural resources team and has been active in Alabama Extension,” said Becky Barlow, Alabama Extension assistant director for agriculture, forestry and natural
resource programming. “He is an expert in wildlife management– especially regarding wild pig damage management. We are pleased that Mark has this opportunity to represent Extension in this capacity.”
Wildlife can ruin crops and other agricultural resources through predation and property damage. The USDA Wildlife Services program focuses on research, programming and educational activities aimed at resolving conflicts between wildlife and people. The resources provided by Wildlife Services guide policies
created by the USDA–ultimately affecting a variety of stakeholders.
The 19 NWSAC members will meet biannually to hear the public’s input on wildlife challenges and concerns. Acting as a forum for the secretary of agriculture, the committee will continue working with diverse industries and stakeholders.
“The nomination of Dr. Smith for this appointment is an honor and recognition of his contributions to the field of wild pig damage management through his many years of teaching, research and Extension activities,” said
Dean Janaki Alavalapati.
In the coming years, Smith and the committee will work to help manage wildlife for the betterment of the environment. To learn more about national
wildlife policies, legislation and programming, visit the APHIS web page at www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/.
(Written by Cole Sikes)