WASHINGTON, May 13, 2021 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issued the following statement on the confirmation of Dr. Jewel Bronaugh as Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture:
“I am grateful for today’s confirmation of Jewel Bronaugh as Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dr. Bronaugh’s confirmation is historic, as she will serve as the first Black woman and woman of color to serve as Deputy Secretary. Dr. Bronaugh has a long, distinguished career as an educator and champion for farmers and rural communities. Most recently as the 16th Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services she worked to expand opportunities for small and midsized farmers and ranchers to obtain infrastructure and processing capabilities, and developed strategies to meet environmental and water quality goals for the Chesapeake Bay. As Dean of the College of Agriculture at Virginia State University, Dr. Bronaugh inspired many first-generation college students from rural communities to become outstanding leaders in their fields. That is understandable considering her positive, uplifting nature. She speaks respectfully of producers and rural Americans, and believes that as a public servant, her job is to find a way to help those who need it. I look forward to working with Dr. Bronaugh to ensure USDA lives up to its calling as the People’s Department, to be a Department that serves all people equally and fairly.”
About Dr. Jewel Bronaugh
Dr. Jewel H. Bronaugh was appointed the 16th Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in 2018 by Governor Ralph Northam. She previously served as the Virginia State Executive Director for the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), appointed by Governor Terry McAuliffe and then-U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, in July 2015. Prior to her FSA appointment, she served as Dean of the College of Agriculture at Virginia State University (VSU) with oversight of Extension, Research and Academic Programs. Previously she was the Associate Administrator for Extension Programs and a 4-H Extension Specialist.
In spring 2019, Dr. Bronaugh launched the Virginia Farmer Stress Task Force to raise awareness and coordinate resources to address farmer stress and mental health challenges in Virginia. In the fall of 2020, she helped establish the Virginia Food Access Investment Fund and Program, the first statewide program of its kind to address food access within historically marginalized communities.
Dr. Bronaugh received her Ph.D. in Career and Technical Education from Virginia Tech. She is passionate about the advancement of youth leadership in agriculture. Dr. Bronaugh is from Petersburg, Virginia. She is married to Cleavon, a retired United States Army Veteran. They have four adult children.