The announcement came in a statement posted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website, in which the Virginia native spoke about the historic opportunities she has had to bolster food assistance programs, building trust in marginalized communities, and nurturing the next generation of agricultural leaders since her appointment in May 2021.
Bronaugh was dean of the Virginia State University College of Agriculture and commissioner of Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences prior to becoming the first Black woman to serve as deputy U.S. secretary of agriculture. One of her keystone efforts in the Biden Administration was her leadership in the USDA’s Equity Commission, which was founded in 2022 to acknowledge the lived experiences of people who have faced discrimination within the USDA and outside of it.
In her statement, she said:
“We are making historic investments in advancing equity and opportunity at USDA and have significantly bolstered food assistance programs to support those most in need. We are helping U.S. agriculture lead the way in climate-smart agriculture, opening more, new and better markets for our producers through trade missions to the UK and East Africa and other partner nations across the world and we are providing new and unprecedented support for underserved producers and rural communities. We launched and I have been honored to co-chair USDA’s first-ever Equity Commission, which will leave a lasting imprint for generations to come.
“To the people we serve, it is important that you know USDA’s commitment to becoming an agency that ensures all Americans have equitable access to USDA programs and services is truly sincere. I am the first one to admit the work to build and maintain trust among all we serve is no easy task. However, I have seen first-hand the intentional work being done each day to set USDA on a new and more inclusive path forward, working in close partnership with you and your local communities. We count on you to hold us accountable, and I know the USDA workforce looks forward to continuing to work alongside you for years to come.
“To the young people and next generation of agriculture leaders that I have had the pleasure of meeting at minority-serving land grant institutions across the country, keep working hard and dreaming big. I know the future of food and agriculture is in good hands.
“And to my staff and the USDA workforce, I will leave USDA in awe of your wisdom and dedication to those we serve. Together, we did the hard and intentional internal work each and every day to make USDA a great place to work for our employees. I look forward to continuing to support all of your work and hope to one day soon continue to pursue my love of agriculture.”