The U.S. Senate has confirmed Dr. Jewel Bronaugh to be Deputy Secretary of Agriculture. The Petersburg, Virginia native will be the first Black woman to hold this position at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Bronaugh has served as commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services since May 2018 and previously served as Virginia’s State Executive Director for the USDA Farm Service Agency. Bronaugh was also Dean of the College of Agriculture at Virginia State University.
Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Mark R. Warner released a joint statement on the May 13 confirmation:
“Dr. Bronaugh has done exceptional work for the Commonwealth and we have no doubt that she will continue to do so at the federal level. We look forward to working with her and USDA as we address our country’s agricultural, nutritional, and infrastructure needs.”
Black farmers sued the USDA for discrimination in 1997, and this year farmers who were not awarded finally received some aid as part of a billion-dollar settlement. In a statement on Dr. Bronaugh’s nomination before she was confirmed, John Boyd, President and Founder of the National Black Farmers Association (NBFA), congratulated the official and said the NBFA “hope[s] she will use her knowledge of the department to level the playing field for NBFA members as well as other minority and small scale farmers and to end the culture of discrimination at the USDA.”