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Statement from Agriculture Secretary Vilsack on Departure of Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh

WASHINGTON, January 26, 2023 – “Today Deputy Secretary Dr. Jewel Bronaugh announced that she is leaving the Department of Agriculture in the weeks ahead to spend more time with her family. Her service, presence and leadership will be sorely missed. She has been an incredible partner over the last two years, and she has been instrumental in helping the department seize opportunity and address a host of challenges. We are all deeply grateful for her service.

"Deputy Secretary Bronaugh has accomplished a lot during her tenure at USDA and much of her work will be felt well into the future. She has been instrumental in advancing equity and opportunity, strengthening the international trade relationships that benefit our domestic producers, enhancing food assistance programs to help those in need, and increasing engagement in innovation and research key to expanding sustainable agriculture practices. With passion, energy, and a steady hand, she’s served as co-chair of USDA’s first-ever Equity Commission, an independent body that will provide recommendations for how USDA and Congress can take action to remove systemic inequities and reduce barriers that hamper access to USDA programs and policies; the goal is equitable access and opportunity for all farmers, ranchers, forest landowners—and all Americans. She was also instrumental in establishing a Chief Diversity and Inclusion Office (CDIO) within the Office of the Secretary (OSEC) to institutionalize and sustain USDA’s governance and management of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility, while contributing to attracting and retaining a workforce that is proud to represent USDA. The Deputy has been a champion and partner in many ways; also notable is tirelessly working to strengthen USDA’s operations, support our employees and continue to make USDA a great place to work.

"Through her work and leadership, Dr. Bronaugh has set a powerful example for the next generation of agriculture leadership. She’s broken glass ceilings as the first African American and person of color to ever serve in her role at USDA and made history while inspiring many more- especially young people- to serve in the future, within USDA and throughout the food and agricultural sector. The Department, all those who we serve, and I personally have greatly benefited from her service, knowledge and commitment to USDA’s mission, and very much respect her decision to put family first."


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