USDA NRCS Chief Terry Cosby to deliver Alcorn’s commencement address

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Terry Cosby

JANS – Alcorn State University will recognize over 200 graduates during its Fall Commencement on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2023, at 9 a.m., in the Davey L. Whitney HPER Complex on the Lorman campus. Doors will open at 6 a.m.

This year’s commencement speaker is Alcorn alumnus Terry Cosby.

Cosby is the chief of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

He leads a premier federal conservation agency known for its 3,000 field office network that helps farmers, ranchers, and private forest landowners plan and carry out voluntary conservation activities.

Under his leadership, NRCS is implementing key Biden-Harris Administration priorities including once-in-a-generation investments in climate change mitigation through the Inflation Reduction Act. Cosby’s priorities for NRCS include ensuring equitable access to NRCS resources for all producers, addressing climate change, supporting urban agriculture, building a diverse and well-trained workforce, and nurturing partnerships.

During his more than 40-year career with NRCS, he has held numerous leadership and staff positions. He began his career as an NRCS intern in Iowa in 1979 and rose through the agency’s ranks to become its 17th chief on May 24, 2021.

Prior to his current position, he served as NRCS’s acting chief for several months and as state conservationist in Ohio for 16 years. Terry also served as the deputy state conservationist in Idaho, assistant state conservationist for Field Operations in Missouri, and area resource conservationist in Iowa.

Cosby’s conservation and agricultural roots run deep. He grew up on his family’s cotton farm and attended a land grant university that prepared him well to serve all producers, including those who were historically underserved. His great-grandfather purchased the family farm in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi, in the late 1800s.

He earned his Bachelor of Science in agricultural education from Alcorn State University, the nation’s first Black land grant university.

The ceremony will be live-streamed on YouTube at alcornstateu.

For more information about the commencement, go to

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USDA NRCS Chief Terry Cosby to deliver Alcorn’s commencement address

By Jackson Advocate News Service
December 11, 2023