Agriculture Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh announced Thursday her intention to step away from her role at USDA.


“It is with mixed emotions that today I am announcing that I will step away from my role as Deputy Secretary in the coming weeks so I can spend more time with my family,” Bronaugh said.


She noted that among her highlights at USDA, leading 2022’s USDA Ag trade mission to East Africa.


“There have been many opportunities from changes here in East Africa, we want to capitalize on the agricultural trade opportunities following the launch of the recent U.S. Kenya strategic trade and Investment Partnership.”


President Biden nominated Bronaugh to USDA in January of 2021 and was confirmed by the Senate in May of that year.  Bronaugh thanked Secretary Tom Vilsack for his support.  And he thanked her for her time and efforts at USDA.


"Deputy Secretary Bronaugh has accomplished a lot during her tenure at USDA and much of her work will be felt well into the future," Vilsack said Thursday.  "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," Vilsack continued.  "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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