In case you missed it, Dr. Jewel Bronaugh made history as the first African American Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). In a May 13 U.S. Department of Agriculture press release, the U.S. Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack, released a statement announcing Bronaugh’s confirmation.
“I am grateful for today’s confirmation of Jewel Bronaugh as Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture,” Vilsack said. “Dr. Bronaugh’s confirmation is historic, as she will serve as the first Black woman and woman of color to serve as Deputy Secretary.”
Bronaugh has a distinguished and long career as an educator and champion for farmers and rural communities. She most recently worked as the 16th Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. In that role, Bronaugh reportedly expanded opportunities for small and midsized farmers and ranchers to obtain infrastructure and processing capabilities. Bronaugh also developed strategies to meet environmental and water quality goals for the Chesapeake Bay.
In January, the National Farmer’s Union (NFU) congratulated Bronaugh on her Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture nomination from President Joe Biden.
“Under Dr. Jewel Bronaugh’s leadership, the USDA will be in good hands,” NFU President Rob Larew said in a press release. “The agricultural industry is facing significant economic, environmental, and demographic challenges, and Dr. Bronaugh’s knowledge in these areas will undoubtedly be a significant asset as the agency develops solutions.”
According to the Virginia State University’s Department of Agriculture, Bronaugh is not a first-time historymaker.
“Bronaugh first made history in May 2018 when she was appointed by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam to serve as the Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS). She was the 16th commissioner of VDACS and the first African American woman in the U.S. to serve in this capacity,” Virginia State University’s Department of Agriculture reported.
The new deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture will be second in command at the USDA. Bronaugh will assist with overseeing over 29 USDA agencies and nearly 100,000 employees who serve more than 4,500 locations in the United States and abroad, according to Virginia State University’s Department of Agriculture.