Farm groups support Bronaugh nomination
The American Farmland Trust, the National Farmers Union, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, and the Environmental Defense Fund have issued statements supporting President Biden’s nomination of Jewel Bronaugh, the Virginia agriculture commissioner, as Agriculture deputy secretary.
“Dr. Bronaugh has been a tireless champion for the state’s agricultural sector, including small and mid-size producers. This experience, along with her support for food security and access, will serve our nation’s farmers, ranchers and citizens well,” AFT Policy Director Tim Fink said.
National Farmers Union President Rob Larew said, “Under Dr. Jewel Bronaugh’s leadership, the USDA will be in good hands. She has amassed a wealth of experience and expertise over her long and impressive career, positioning her for success in her new role as deputy secretary of Agriculture.”
“We are especially encouraged by her strong background in farm programs, extension, education, and research. 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.
“As the first Black woman to hold this position, Dr. Bronaugh also brings an important perspective to the USDA. We have a long ways to go when it comes to racial and gender equity in agriculture; with her understanding of the barriers that exist for underrepresented groups, we are optimistic that we can take several leaps forwards in the next four years.”
National Association of State Departments of Agriculture CEO Barb Glenn said, “As a NASDA member, Commissioner Bronaugh brings unmatched expertise on how agricultural and food policies work at the farm and community level.”
“President-elect Biden’s choice of Commissioner Jewel Bronaugh is a good sign for developing a working relationship between NASDA and USDA,” NASDA President Ryan Quarles, the Kentucky agriculture commissioner, said.
“I know Commissioner Bronaugh will work hard on behalf of the American people and I look forward to identifying areas of common ground as we advocate for farm families across the nation.”
Bronaugh pioneered the development of mental health services for farmers in her state and across the U.S., establishing the Farmer Stress Task Force in 2019 and serving as NASDA’s Rural Development & Financial Security Committee chair over the past year, Glenn noted.
“Commissioner Bronaugh’s work to provide mental health resources for farmers has proved incredibly important. Protecting the health and wellbeing of farmers has always been imperative, and the need for mental health services has only grown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Glenn added.
“Dr. Bronaugh will also make history as the first Black woman to serve as the second in command at USDA. Her role in USDA leadership and decision-making will help ensure that USDA policies represent and benefit all farmers, especially farmers of color.”
Ben Thomas, senior policy director for agriculture at the Environmental Defense Fund, said “Dr. Bronaugh has what it takes to tackle the serious challenges facing agriculture and food security. In doing so, she will help build a more climate-resilient future for all Americans.”
“She has an extensive technical background and a track record of leadership on tough issues like the struggling farm economy, farmer mental health, food access and environmental impacts. Above all, she knows how to bring stakeholders to the table to find consensus and get things done.”
–The Hagstrom Report
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