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A University of Nebraska-Lincoln adjunct professor was nominated by President Donald Trump on Monday to become Undersecretary for Agricultural Research, Education and Economics at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Scott Hutchins, an adjunct in the Entomology Department at UNL, would oversee the Agricultural Research Service, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the Economic Research Service and the National Agricultural Statistics Service as the USDA's chief scientist.

The current global leader of integrated field sciences for Corteva Agriscience, the agricultural division of DowDuPont, Hutchins lives in Carmel, Indiana.

He holds a bachelor's degree from Auburn, a master's degree from Mississippi State, as well as a Ph.D. from Iowa State, and was the president of the Entomological Society of America in 2007.

Professor Gary Brewer, head of UNL's Entomology Department, said Hutchins is "a great strategic planner" with professional development expertise, conducting workshops and planning sessions for the department.

As an executive at Dow, Hutchins has also brought others from the industry to UNL to meet with students and discuss potential career paths, Brewer said.

Entomology cuts across several scientific disciplines, including biology, agriculture, genetics and ecology, Brewer said, giving Hutchins a diverse scientific background and deep professional experience.

"It would be very appropriate for Scott to be the chief scientist at the USDA," Brewer said.

The nomination comes nearly a year after Trump nominated Sam Clovis, a former campaign adviser, to the position.

But Clovis' nomination was met by heavy opposition from the Senate and science groups, who said the former radio show host and native of Sioux City, Iowa, was not qualified to be the USDA's chief scientist.

Clovis withdrew his nomination in November 2017 after becoming embroiled in the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, but remained with the USDA as its liaison to the White House until May.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7120 or cdunker@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @ChrisDunkerLJS.

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Higher education reporter

Chris Dunker covers higher education, state government and the intersection of both.

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