VDACS commissioner tapped to serve as deputy secretary of USDA
Dr. Jewel H. Bronaugh has been appointed deputy secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture.
Bronaugh, commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services since 2018, will become the first African American deputy secretary of the USDA, which consists of 29 agencies and offices with nearly 100,000 employees who serve at more than 4,500 locations across the country and abroad.
“Dr. Jewel Bronaugh has done an outstanding job for the Commonwealth of Virginia, advancing agriculture, the state’s number one industry,” Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring said. “There is no question she will serve our great nation with distinction. It is a tremendous source of pride to have our VDACS Commissioner selected to serve as Deputy Secretary of USDA, and we know Jewel will be a true leader both at the Department and in the Biden-Harris administration.”
Bronaugh was previously executive director of the Center for Agricultural Research, Engagement, and Outreach at Virginia State University. She also served as state executive director of the USDA Farm Service Agency and as dean of VSU’s College of Agriculture.
Bronaugh holds a bachelor’s degree in education from James Madison University, and a master’s in education and doctorate in career and technical education from Virginia Tech.
During her tenure as commissioner at VDACS, Bronaugh created the Farmer Stress and Mental Health Taskforce to address critical mental health issues facing farmers and families in rural communities. She also helped create the Virginia Food Access and Investment Fund Grant Program to invest in new and expanding grocery stores and food retailers and support innovative food retail projects that address food access issues in historically marginalized communities.
She also established the Southern Association of State Departments of Agriculture Career Development Scholarship Program to provide opportunities for minority students to study and participate in national agricultural policy development.