NRCS Chief Terry Cosby leads a premier federal conservation agency known for its 3,000 field-office network that helps farmers, ranchers and private forest landowners nationwide plan and carry out voluntary conservation activities on their operations.
During Terry’s 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, Terry served as NRCS’s Acting Chief for several months.
Terry’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 childhood, education and passion for conservation and agriculture paved the way for him to reach great heights throughout his NRCS career. Prior to being named Acting Chief, Terry served as NRCS State Conservationist in Ohio for 16 years. His other leadership positions include Deputy State Conservationist in Idaho, Assistant State Conservationist for Field Operations in Missouri, and Area Resource Conservationist in Iowa.
Terry’s great-grandfather purchased the family farm in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi, in the late 1800s. Terry, a Tallahatchie County native, earned his Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Education from Alcorn State University in Alcorn, Mississippi, the nation’s first Black land grant college. Terry and his wife Brenda are the proud parents of four children. His leisure activities include hunting, fishing, and spending as much time as possible with his seven grandchildren.