Herman Ellison has been named the state director at the Virginia Field Office (VA FO) of the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

A career statistician with NASS, he began his work with them in 1985 as a student intern in the South Carolina Field Office. After graduating from Tennessee State University in 1988, he went full-time with the agency and worked in South Carolina and Nebraska before moving to NASS headquarters in Washington, D.C. in 1998.

In Washington, he was responsible for the national estimates for peanuts and rice. In November 2002, he led the national soybean and minor oilseeds estimating programs. In March 2004, he participated in the USDA Graduate School’s Executive Potential Program. He was appointed Deputy Director in Trenton, N.J., in November 2004.

He succeeds Kevin Barnes, who directed the VA FO for the past three-and-a-half years. Barnes returned to NASS headquarters as Chief of the Environmental, Economics and Demographics Branch.

NASS began during the Presidency of Abraham Lincoln. He founded the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1862 with one of its missions being the dissemination of information about U.S. agriculture. One year later, the USDA released its first statistical report.

Today, NASS conducts hundreds of surveys every year and prepares reports covering virtually every aspect of U.S. agricultural production. Supplies of food and fiber, prices paid and received by farmers, farm labor and wages, farm finances, chemical use and changes in the demographics of U.S. producers are only a few examples.

The Virginia office of NASS is a partner with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services through a cooperative agreement.