Robert Smith

National Program Leader, Animal Health & Veterinary Medicine, USDA

Dr. Smith currently serves as National Program Leader for Animal Health and Veterinary Medicine with the Division of Animal Systems at USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, where he has served in that capacity for over 21 years. He is currently responsible for the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment program (VMLRP), the Veterinary Services Grant Program (VSGP), the Food Animal Residual Avoidance Database (FARAD), the Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program for Animal Production & Protection, and the Animal Health & Disease Research capacity program.

Early in his tenure at USDA Dr. Smith was deployed by that department to serve as Senior Advisor for Animal Health to the U.S Embassy- Kabul for six years and the U.S. Embassy-Baghdad for two years. During that time, he was responsible for developing veterinary infrastructure for both countries that allowed them to detect and report emerging livestock diseases to the World Animal Health Organization.

Prior to his joining USDA-NIFA, Dr. Smith served as the Attending Veterinarian for Agricultural Animals and Wildlife at the Pennsylvania State University (University Park) for five years. Prior to that he served as a Professor of Food Animal Medicine and Surgery for the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois and prior to that as a large animal practitioner in southern New Jersey and Frederick, Maryland.

Dr. Smith also served with the Army Reserve as a Veterinary Office with Civil Affairs and as a Commander of a Veterinary unit for 28 years. During this time, he was called to active duty in support of presidential long-term call-ups to Saudi Arabia, Cuba and Bosnia. In 2002 he graduated from the U.S. Army War College with a Master’s degree in Strategic Planning and retired in 2011 as a Colonel.

Dr. Smith earned his BS, MS and DVM degrees from the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana) and his PhD in Animal Nutrition from Pennsylvania State University (University Park).