Senate confirms Jacobs-Young as USDA undersecretary

The Senate today confirmed President Biden’s nomination of Chavonda Jacobs-Young as agriculture undersecretary for research, education and economics.

The vote was 95 to 4.

The Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing on the Jacobs-Young nomination on Nov. 17, 2021, but the nomination was subject to holds by senators.

In a floor statement before the vote, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said Jacobs-Young “is extremely qualified” and noted she “will be the first woman of color to serve in the USDA’s highest scientific post.” Stabenow also thanked Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., the committee ranking member, for his help in advancing the nomination.

“American farmers and ranchers have had a competitive advantage on the world stage in large part thanks to agricultural research,” Stabenow said after the vote. “Dr. Jacobs-Young is the right person to oversee USDA’s major research, education, and extension agencies. I am glad my colleagues and I could come together to confirm this outstanding nominee.”

“Dr. Jacobs-Young has served American agriculture well in her career and I’m pleased she will continue her leadership as the undersecretary for research, education, and economics,” said Boozman. “I congratulate her on her confirmation and look forward to working together to support agricultural research and producers nationwide.”

House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott, D-Ga., congratulated Jacobs-Young in a news release, saying, “I am particularly excited to see someone with such a strong career in research and at the department leading USDA’s research and economics agencies. Our House Agriculture team looks forward to working with Under Secretary Jacobs-Young and helping cement the United States’ role as the world leader in agricultural research and extension.”

Jacobs-Young has served as administrator of the Agriculture Department’s Agricultural Research Service, USDA’s chief scientific in-house research agency, since February 2014.

Previously, she served as ARS associate administrator for national programs, where she led the Office of National Programs, which manages the research objectives of the agency, and the Office of International Research Programs, which is responsible for ARS’ liaison with its international partners.

Prior to moving into her roles at ARS, Jacobs-Young served as director of the Office of the Chief Scientist at USDA. She also served as acting director for USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Earlier, she served as a senior policy analyst for agriculture in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Jacobs-Young is a native of Georgia. She holds a master of science and a doctorate in wood and paper science and a bachelor of science degree in pulp and paper science and technology from North Carolina State University. She also is a graduate of American University’s Executive Leadership in Public Policy Implementation Program.


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