Commissioner's Message
 

VIDA CommissionerGreetings from the V.I. Department of Agriculture!  We are pleased to announce the launch of our new website www.vifresh.com that will convey information to you about our many ongoing projects in St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John.  We look forward to working with everyone in the USVI to continue the growth of our agri-business industry as an important contributor to the USVI economy.  Thank you for visiting our website and we thank you for attending all of the events we have sponsored or participated in!

 

Sincerely,

Louis E. Petersen, Jr. Ph.D.

Commissioner of Agriculture

 

Meet Commissioner of Agriculture Louis E. Petersen, Jr., Ph.D.

Louis E. Petersen, Jr., has been in the field of agriculture for three decades. As a student at the Charlotte Amalie High School, he became a founding member of a student-driven, school-based agricultural club where a variety of produce was grown and sold. The club’s activities eventually re-ceived public attention and recognition by Governor Cyril E. King who encouraged the members to persevere in their efforts to revive the agricultural industry in the terri-tory and to consider professional careers in the field of agriculture.

Upon graduation in 1977, he enrolled at Tus-kegee Institute (now Tus-kegee University) where he received a bachelor’s degree in Plant & Soil Sci-ence. Petersen later earned a master’s degree in Horticulture from Okla-homa State University and a doctorate in Horticulture – Plant Genetics from the University of Minnesota along with a minor degree in Plant Pathology.
His February 2007 appointment as Commissioner of Agriculture is not his first en-counter with the VI Department of Agricul-ture. From 1995 to 1999 he served as Assis-tant Commissioner, based in the St. Thomas/St. John district.

For sixteen years, he worked at the Cooperative Extension Service of the University of the Virgin Islands where he became the St. Thomas-St. John District Supervisor in 1991. Dr. Petersen has worn many hats; he has served as a member of the School to Work/Career Council, the Sustainable Agriculture Program State coordinator for the USVI, past president, vice president and recording secretary of the VI Resource Conservation and De-velopment Council, current Vice Chair-person of the State Executive Commit-tee of Reinventing Agricultural Educa-tion 20/20, and presiding Vice Chairman of the local chapter of the Caribbean Food Crops Society.
Petersen is also the president of both the St. Thomas/St. John Agriculture and Food Fair Committee and the Agriculture and Food Fair Board of the US Virgin Is-lands. Most recently he was elected as sec-retary of the South-ern Association of State Departments of Agriculture.
As Commissioner of Agriculture, Dr. Petersen is responsible for the terri-tory-wide oversight and the develop-ment of programs and policies to sup-port and promote a local sustainable agricultural industry.

His vision for the department is to increase its collective resources through partnerships, grant writing and strategic initiatives to enhance its de-livery of services and programs to the farming community.

He is married to Algem Petersen and they have one son, Dwayne.

 
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