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Statement by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on the Nomination of Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small to Serve as Deputy Secretary of USDA

WASHINGTON, February 15, 2023 – “The nomination of Xochitl Torres Small to serve as Deputy Secretary reflects the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to rural prosperity, advancing equity, and making USDA the best place to work. As Under Secretary for Rural Development, Torres Small has been an exemplary member of the USDA subcabinet and a dedicated advocate for rural communities. During her leadership, Rural Development was the first federal agency to invest Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds in physical infrastructure for high-speed internet, and the first entity to make Inflation Reduction Act funds available to drive down energy costs for farmers and rural small businesses. She has worked to foster a dedicated and diverse workforce ready to serve the American people in Rural Development offices across the country.

"The granddaughter of migrant farm workers, Under Secretary Torres Small represents the heart and soul of rural communities. She began her work in southern New Mexico, serving as a field organizer in colonias, and continued her work in rural New Mexico as a field representative for Senator Tom Udall, where she collaborated with local leaders and elected officials. She went on to the University of New Mexico School of Law and, in 2018, became the first woman and first person of color to represent New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District, the largest district that isn’t its own state. Throughout her career, Torres Small has put her experience to use in the name of making lasting investments in the people, institutions and infrastructure essential for tribal nations and communities throughout the rural U.S. to thrive. Her expertise will further USDA’s mission to advance equity and opportunity in and for rural America, and USDA’s commitment to build an organization invested in the success of its workforce and the customers we serve. I am pleased President Biden has nominated her to be Deputy Secretary and I am fully confident in Under Secretary Torres Small’s ability to excel in this essential role at the Department.”

Upon the conclusion of Deputy Secretary Bronaugh’s service with USDA, Kevin Shea, APHIS Administrator and a career public servant with more than 40 years at USDA will serve as Acting Deputy Secretary.


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