Kevin D. Kephart is the deputy director of the Institute of Bioenergy, Climate, and Environment (IBCE) in the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. With a background in federal and state public research, technology transfer, and industry R&D, Kevin has led the diverse team of talent in IBCE since September 2021. From 2017 to 2019 Kevin led strategic university collaborations and scientific communications at Indigo Ag, Inc., a company based in Boston with a mission that centers around technologies for plant microbiomes and risk mitigation practices for field crops. From 2005 to 2016 he was vice president for research and economic development at South Dakota State University (SDSU), managing a $70 million research portfolio and implementing initiatives such as the Sun Grant Initiative.
Over the course of his 30 years at SDSU, Kephart served in a variety of leadership roles, fostering strong organizational growth through the expansion of strategic partnerships in fields such as crop breeding and genetics, biotechnology, human nutrition and the microbiome, pharmaceutical sciences, and precision agriculture. He also spearheaded SDSU’s intellectual property portfolio and led the university’s well-recognized work in wheat R&D through new partnerships with agricultural technology companies, conservation groups, and grower organizations.
Prior to his term as vice president at SDSU, Kevin served as director of the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station. He served as co-chair of the Technical Advisory Committee of the USDA/DOE Biomass R&D Initiative from 2012 to 2016, one of numerous board positions he has held. Kevin earned a B.S. degree in agricultural sciences (soils) from Montana State University, an M.S. degree in agronomy from the University of Wyoming, and a Ph.D. in crop production and physiology from Iowa State University.