Rockingham County farmer Matt Lohr named NRCS chief

Matt LohrRockingham County farmer Matt Lohr has been appointed to serve as chief of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

In this role, Lohr will provide leadership for NRCS and its mission to support America’s farmers, ranchers and forest landowners in their voluntary conservation efforts through a network of more than 3,000 offices nationwide.

“Matt is a natural leader who has roots in Farm Bureau, having served on the Young Farmers state committee and winning national recognition through the American Farm Bureau Federation,” notedVirginia Farm Bureau Federation President Wayne F. Pryor. “We believe he will do an outstanding job heading the NRCS and leading our farmers in their conservation efforts.”

Lohr and his late wife, Andrea, won the inaugural VFBF Excellence in Agriculture Award in 2002 and went on to capture the AFBF Excellence in Agriculture Award in 2003. Lohr is a past president of Rockingham County Farm Bureau and a past chairman of that organization’s Young Farmers Committee.

“My involvement in Virginia Farm Bureau has played an integral part in my success,” Lohr said. “Farm Bureau provided numerous leadership opportunities and competitions that greatly assisted my personal development. I look forward to growing that relationship with Farm Bureaus across the country in my new position as NRCS chief.”

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, who made the appointment Dec. 3, said Lohr “has committed his entire life to the betterment of agriculture. The knowledge and experience he brings to the table will help ensure our locally led, science-based approach continues to offer farmers the conservation solutions needed to enhance their environment and commercial viability.”

Lohr was raised on a Virginia Century Farm in the Shenandoah Valley and currently owns and operates Valley Pike Farm Inc. with his wife, Beth, and their six children.

Prior to his recent appointment, he was director of Farm Credit of the Virginias’ Knowledge Center, a customer-owned financial cooperative that provides education outreach and resources to farmers. He served as Virginia’s commissioner of agriculture and consumer services from 2010 to 2013.

Before that, Lohr served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 2006 to 2010. In 2008 he was named Legislator of the Year in recognition of his work as an ambassador for economic and community development.

Since June 2017, Lohr has been farming full time on his beef cattle, poultry, row crop and sweet corn operation.

“I am honored and humbled to serve America’s agricultural industry in this new capacity,” Lohr said. “As a fifth-generation farmer, I care deeply about conserving and protecting our most valuable agricultural resources. I look forward to the chance to lead this valuable agency and assist our producers nationwide with their conservation practices.”

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