WASHINGTON, D.C. — President-elect Joe Biden on Monday announced that he will appoint Jewel Bronaugh, current ag commissioner in Virginia, as the next USDA deputy secretary of agriculture, the second-highest position in the agency.
Bronaugh has extensive experience in agricultural policy work. Since 2018, she has run the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
During her tenure as commissioner, Bronaugh created the Farmer Stress and Mental Health Taskforce, helped create the Virginia Food Access and Investment Fund Grant Program to invest in new and expanding grocery stores and developed agricultural scholarships for minority students.
Before that, starting in 2015, she was the USDA Farm Service Agency state director during the Obama administration.
She also worked as dean of the College of Agriculture at Virginia State University, where she oversaw extension services, research and educational programing related to agriculture. Bronaugh started her career at VSU in 2001.
If confirmed, Bronaugh will be the first Black woman to hold the position of USDA deputy secretary.
Several farm groups across the nation have welcomed Bronaugh's appointment.
Virginia Farm Bureau President Wayne Pryor said in a statement Monday afternoon that he is "proud" to see Bronaugh nominated for the role.
"She has done much to promote agriculture and address the many issues facing farm families and rural Virginia," he said. "Dr. Bronaugh will carry on her new leadership role in Washington, D.C., and we support her swift confirmation."
At the national level, the American Farm Bureau Federation also supported Bronaugh's appointment.
In a statement, Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall said Bronaugh "understands the needs of America's farmers and ranchers."
Duvall added that he also appreciates the work Bronaugh has done to address mental health issues in rural communities.
It is now up to the Senate to confirm Bronaugh's appointment.
She is a native of Petersburg, Va., and has a bachelor's degree in education from James Madison University and a master's degree in adult education and a doctorate in career and technical education, both from Virginia Tech.