Bronaugh confirmed as ag deputy secretary
The Senate late Thursday confirmed Jewel Bronaugh as the Agriculture deputy secretary.
“After a strong bipartisan vote, Deputy Secretary Bronaugh can now get to work at the department,” said Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. “I look forward to working with her on a number of key priorities. I know she’ll do an excellent job.”
“I am pleased the Senate moved quickly to confirm Dr. Bronaugh and proud that we have taken the historic step of confirming the first African-American woman to serve as deputy secretary at USDA,” said Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., the ranking member on the committee.
“Her extensive experience shows she is more than capable of handling the significant responsibilities that come with the role. Deputy Secretary Bronaugh is positioned for success at the department, and I look forward to working with her to help meet the needs of our farmers, ranchers and foresters.”
After the vote, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said, “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,” Vilsack said.
“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,” Vilsack said.
USDA noted that Bronaugh had been appointed Virginia agriculture commissioner by Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat.
She previously served as the Virginia state executive director for the USDA Farm Service Agency, appointed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, and Vilsack.
USDA also noted that in spring 2019, 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.
Bronaugh received her Ph.D. in career and technical education from Virginia Tech. Bronaugh is from Petersburg, Virginia. She is married to Cleavon Bronaugh, a retired Army veteran, and they have four adult children.
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Mohamed Khalil has been appointed as geoscientist in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Conservation and Survey Division (CSD), based at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center in Scottsbluff. His start date is Sept. 1.