Rita Abi-Ghanem, Ph.D., Senior Director of Research & Development at Bio Huma Netics, Inc. (BHN), has been appointed to a two-year term to serve as a member of the Agricultural Science Committee of EPA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB). Her term began Oct. 1.
BHN is a supplier of agricultural liquid fertilizers and specialty products.
The EPA SAB Agricultural Science Committee is a new standing committee created as a result of the Agricultural Act of 2014. The committee will provide advice to the chartered SAB on matters referred to the Board that EPA and the Board, in consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture, determine will have a significant direct impact on farming and agriculture-related industries.
Selection criteria for committee members included demonstrated scientific credentials and disciplinary expertise in agriculture-related sciences, demonstrated ability to work constructively and effectively on committees, and background and experiences that would contribute to the diversity of perspectives on the committee, e.g., geographic, economic, social, cultural, and educational backgrounds, and professional affiliations.
Dr. Abi-Ghanem is a Fulbright Scholar who earned her doctorate in Soil Science from Washington State University, her Master of Science degree in Plant Protection from the American University of Beirut, and her Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Engineering from Lebanese University in Lebanon. Abi-Ghanem says she is deeply honored to be selected for this position, and she looks forward to working with other scientists from around the U.S. to provide advice and scientific perspective on important agricultural issues.
BHN’s CEO Lyndon Smith stated that Bio Huma Netics is very proud of Abi-Ghanem’s accomplishments and her appointment to this EPA committee. He also said he appreciates having someone as distinguished as Abi-Ghanem leading BHN’s research and development initiatives.
In addition to serving on the EPA SAB Agricultural Science Committee, Abi-Ghanem is an adjunct faculty member of the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at Washington State University and serves as a member of the Humic Products Trade Association Science Committee; the Fluid Fertilizer Foundation Research and Education Committee; the Arizona Department of Agriculture Pesticide Advisory Committee; and is Chair-Elect for 2016 and Chair for 2017 of the Women-in-Science Committee of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America.
Abi-Ghanem was further honored earlier this year when she was presented the Association for International Agriculture and Rural Development 2016 Young Professional Award. That award cited Abi-Ghanem’s early work in assessing seed-borne diseases on wheat and barley landraces in a rural area that borders Syria and participation in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Agricultural Research Connections 2013 Workshop in Kenya.
She also participated in the Iraq Agricultural Extension Revitalization Project, in which she and others from Washington State University and four other American universities trained Iraqi agricultural Extension agents and scientists through sessions held in 2007–2008 in Egypt, Syria, and Jordan.