Bobby R. Acord, the administrator for the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, retired March 23 after more than 35 years of service to the USDA.
Dr. Ron DeHaven has been named to replace Acord as APHIS administrator. Dr. DeHaven has served as deputy administrator of APHIS Veterinary Services since April 2002. As the nation's chief veterinary official, he provided leadership in safeguarding animal health, most notably when bovine spongiform encephalopathy was detected in Washington state last December.
Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman appointed Acord in November 2001. He served as acting administrator from 1999 and as deputy administrator for APHIS Wildlife Services for nearly 10 years. Courtney Billet, the director of legislative and public affairs for the USDA, attributed Acord's retirement to his need to care for his ailing mother and aunt in West Virginia.
Billet dismissed early speculation that Acord's departure was related to expansion of the USDA's bovine spongiform encephalopathy surveillance program in mid-March, a move he had previously opposed.