Jewel Bronaugh

Jewel Bronaugh, Virginia’s commissioner of agriculture, will be nominated as USDA's deputy secretary, President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team said Monday.

Bronaugh, who has led the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services since 2018, previously served as the state Farm Service Agency executive director and dean of the College of Agriculture at Virginia State University.

Gov. Ralph Northam praised Bronaugh’s selection, highlighting her efforts on the pandemic, farmer mental health, food access in poor communities, and ag youths.

Bronaugh received her doctorate in career and technical education from Virginia Tech. She lives in Petersburg with her husband, Cleavon, and their four children.

Bronaugh would be the first Black woman to fill USDA’s No. 2 office. Her selection may address complaints by some groups that ag secretary nominee Tom Vilsack did not do enough on civil rights while leading the agency during the Obama administration.