James Verdin is the Food for Peace Chair of USAID. He works with Harvest on projects related to the overall strategy of USAID. EO data are increasingly seen as essential inputs to support Feed the Future’s work throughout the program cycle, from design to implementation, monitoring, evaluation, and adaptive decision making.
USAID and its partners are using EO data and applications in ways that directly correspond to Feed the Future’s strategic approach and results framework, in an accessible way. This approach provides an opportunity to open doors for a wider engagement with these data by the entire range of decision makers, from farmers in their plots, to researchers in universities, to decisionmakers in governments and multilateral institutions. NASA Harvest's work on Earth observations for food security and agriculture aligns with this goal of engagement across the spectrum of decision makers.
Prior to his time at USAID, James P. Verdin was a physical scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Earth Resources Observation and Science Center. He worked in the National Integrated Drought Information System program office at NOAA in Boulder, Colorado. He led USGS ET remote sensing efforts for the Department of the Interior’s WaterSMART Program. He has been part of the USGS team supporting the FEWS NET and other U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) programs since 1992. He has extensive project experience in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the western United States. Dr. Verdin holds a B.S. in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Madison; an M.S. in civil engineering from Colorado State University; and a Ph.D. in geography from the University of California, Santa Barbara.