Planting Seeds - Food & Farming News from CDFA

Study: food and agriculture workers at top of list for those most at-risk of COVID death – from CBS SF Bay Area

A University of California, San Francisco study of the jobs at most risk for death from COVID-19 shows line cooks, machine operators, agricultural workers, bakers, and construction laborers at the top of the list.

The study looked at occupational sectors associated with high excess mortality during the pandemic, with a focus on racial and ethnic groups disproportionately affected by COVID-19. According to the study, in-person essential work is a likely venue of infection and needs to be addressed with strict enforcement of health orders for workplace settings and worker protections.

Researchers estimated the excess mortality among Californians 18-65 years old by occupational sector and occupation. Since the beginning of the pandemic, these working age adults saw a 22% increase in mortality compared to historical periods. However, food and agricultural workers saw a 39% increase in excess mortality during the pandemic, the highest among all sectors.

In addition, Latinos saw a 36% increase in mortality, and Latino food/agriculture workers saw a 59% increase in mortality. Black Californians saw a 28% increase in mortality, and Black retail workers saw a 36% increase. While Asian Californians saw an 18% increase in mortality, Asian healthcare workers saw a 40% increase.

In comparison, excess mortality among White working-age Californians increased by 6% during the pandemic, and a 16% increase among White food/agriculture workers.

Researchers noted Latino, Black and low educational attainment populations face unique occupational risks because they may disproportionately make up the state’s essential workforce and because essential workers often cannot work from home. Due to historical structural inequities, low-wage essential workers are also more likely to live in crowded housing, resulting in household transmission.

“In-person essential workers are unique in that they are not protected by shelter-in-place policies. Indeed, our study shows that excess mortality rose sharply in the food/agriculture sector during the state’s first shelter-in-place period, from late March through May; these increases were not seen among those working in non-essential sectors. Complementary policies are necessary to protect those who cannot work from home,” the study’s authors wrote.

These can and should include: free personal protective equipment, clearly defined and strongly enforced safety protocols, easily accessible testing, generous sick policies, and appropriate responses to workplace safety violations.”

The study said vaccine distribution plans need to prioritize in-person essential workers in order to reduce the excess COVID mortality.

The UCSF researchers said their analysis is among the first to identify non-healthcare in-person essential work as a predictor of pandemic-related mortality.

“Shutdown policies by definition do not protect essential workers and must be complemented with workplace modifications and prioritized vaccine distribution,” the authors said. “If indeed these workers are essential, we must be swift and decisive in enacting measures that will treat their lives as such.”

Read the study here

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California leads in organic agriculture

The USDA has released its annual count of certified organic operations calculated from the USDA National Organic Program  Organic INTEGRITY Database.

The number of certified organic operations worldwide grew to 45,578 in 2020 with 28,454 — more than 62 percentlocated in the United States. California remains the leader domestically with more than 5,000 certified operations. The Great Lakes Region, Pacific Northwest, and Iowa continue to round out the top ten.

Federal organic regulations currently require certifiers to annually submit a set of basic facts regarding all certified operations to the Organic Integrity Database. The database also includes many optional fields, like acreage, that can aid in oversight and enforcement.

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Sterile insects key piece of CDFA integrated pest management

The Mediterranean Fruit Fly is one of several invasive species eradicated by Sterile Insect Technique.

Conference on sterile insects set for February 4

The California Department of Food and Agriculture will host a forum on Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) on February 4 via Zoom, at 8:30 am.    

SIT is a key component in CDFA’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach and consists of the sterilization of certain invasive species, which are then released into the environment to eradicate infestations through breeding.  

CDFA and the USDA teamed up in the mid-90s to introduce SIT for the Mediterranean Fruit Fly in Southern California, and it is the primary pest management and eradication tool used in the program to this day.  Sterile insects are also used for pests like the Navel Orangeworm, Apple Coddling Moth, Cotton Pink Bollworm, and the Mexican Fruit Fly.

The forum, which is open to the public, will examine history and the latest science related to Sterile Insect Technique. To join the meeting, please click on this link on February 4, and enter the password CDF@2800.

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USDA study reveals that conservation practices reduced carbon footprint

USDA NRCS News Release

A new Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas reduction study reveals that from 2004 to 2018, more than 367,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalents were sequestered or GHGs reduced by installing NRCS working lands conservation practices on farm, ranch, or forest land.

“The average carbon footprint of a Californian is 9.256 metric tons of CO2 per year ,” says Carlos Suarez, State Conservationist for NRCS in California. “NRCS conservation practices applied by California agricultural producers completely offset the annual carbon footprint of 39,650 Californians. Utilizing another metric, these voluntary working lands actions by farmers and ranchers sequester carbon in healthy soils and offset greenhouse gas emissions of more than 79,000 typical passenger vehicles collectively driven nearly a million miles in a year.”

For more than 85 years, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) helped farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners with their conservation technical assistance. What started as soil erosion control, turned into so much more for our natural resources. Since 2004, NRCS worked to deploy soil health conservation practices on more than 2 million acres of California farm and ranch lands.

“Thanks to our collaboration with NRCS, California agriculture is a leader in innovation and climate-smart agriculture,” said Karen Ross, California Secretary of Agriculture.  “These numbers show the power of partnership with farmers and ranchers to implement voluntary incentive-based practices supported by sound science and on-the-ground technical assistance!”

The carbon study and an NRCS tool called “COMET” were discussed today by Dr. Adam Chambers, National Environmental Leader for NRCS West National Technology Support Center, at the virtual California Rangeland Summit. 

“COMET is the premier tool that farmers and ranchers can use to calculate carbon and greenhouse gases sequestered when they use certain conservation practices,” said Dr. Chambers.

Whether it’s conservation technical assistance or the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, NRCS has a lot of options to help farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners. In this study, 28 different conservation practices were analyzed for benefits.

Four noteworthy conservation practices 

  • Composting: effective long-term method for building soil fertility in organic production systems.
  • Cover cropping: grasses, legumes, and forbs for seasonal cover and other conservation purposes.
  • Pollinator hedgerows: establishing wildlife habitat by planting herbaceous vegetation or shrubs.
  • No till: limiting soil disturbance to manage the amount, orientation, and distribution of crop and plant residue on the soil surface.

NRCS conservation practices demonstrate how working lands agriculture can voluntarily reduce emissions and become a climate solution. Soil Health co-benefits, through implementation of soil health practices, include water capture and increased availability, nutrient cycling with reduced inputs, pollinator and wildlife habitat, break up pest cycles, sustained crop production under extreme weather events.

California farmers and ranchers are part of the climate change solution. Partnerships at the federal, state, and local levels are working on this together for agricultural resilience. For more information about conservation technical assistance, how to apply for Farm Bill and program eligibility, interested applicants should contact a NRCS field office in the county which land is owned or operated.

Visit https://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/ to find local NRCS representatives.

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Ag sustainability and resiliency – Secretary Ross talks with the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC)

Flooded farm field

Interview by Lori Pottinger of the PPIC

We talked to Karen Ross, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, about agricultural programs designed to build climate resilience and support farmers’ financial resilience and water security.

PPIC: What kind of progress is California making with climate-smart agriculture programs?

KAREN ROSS: It’s very exciting to see progress in this area, and California’s farmers and ranchers are really leaning in. An important element of this program is our effort to reduce methane emissions from dairy and livestock. We’ve invested almost $300 million for dairy digesters and alternative manure management practices.  In addition to reducing a powerful greenhouse gas, these investments can create alternative revenue streams for dairy farms—by generating renewable energy or manure-based products—which is very important given dairy’s economic volatility. These weren’t broadly used practices or technologies before, so public funding sends an important policy signal that the state thinks this is important work.

The State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) supports on-farm water efficiency, and it’s really been embraced by farmers—it’s probably our most popular program. We’ve invested more than $85 million into it since it was created during the last drought, and the governor’s budget includes $40 million more for the next two years. While this program is mostly used to convert to water-saving irrigation systems, it also supports investments in things like right-sized pumps, which reduce energy use and GHG emissions.

We’re also making exciting progress with our Healthy Soils Program—the only state program of its kind. It gives farmers the opportunity to be part of the solution to climate change, using practices that sequester carbon in soils—such as cover cropping, applying mulch or compost, and planting hedgerows, which also provide wildlife habitat. The proposed budget has $30 million for this program.

Another climate solution is the Air Board’s program to replace farm equipment with cleaner engines, which immediately helps improve air quality in the Central Valley while also reducing greenhouse gases.

The Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation program will continue to receive funding through the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. UC Davis studies show that preserving farmland can reduce GHGs, because emissions from urban development are more intense per acre. Strategic land preservation is increasingly important for managing resiliency and climate change, and I think this program could become even more important given the potential for land fallowing resulting from groundwater sustainability plans. We’re going to have to be very strategic in deciding what is fallowed, and think holistically with an eye on lands that can help with groundwater recharge and carbon sequestration. Well-designed incentives and planning tools will be key.

To scale up these programs to the acreage we’d like to see, we have to work on two things: first, we need a clearer picture of the costs and benefits to prove the return on the investment. And we have to capture and quantify the water-saving capacity of soils by increasing carbon stores.

PPIC: How is the state planning to help small and underserved farmers navigate the regulatory landscape?

KR: The governor is keen to understand the landscape of regulations that fall on all farmers. We’ve identified at least 150 regulations that farmers have to comply with. The proposed budget provides funding for CDFA to work with the California Environmental Protection Agency to find redundancies and look for ways to make compliance easier while maintaining important public health and environmental protections. We’ve heard from cooperative extension specialists that they’re spending more time on helping farmers understand the regulatory compliance maze than on other key aspects of their work, such as helping with business planning and agronomics.

The governor’s budget also includes $6 million to help small and underserved farmers recover from COVID-19 disruptions. This will be through grants administered through nonprofits that work with small farmers, as well as partnering with UC Cooperative Extension to scale up their programs to support small farmers.

PPIC: How can the state encourage effective and equitable implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)?

KR: This is a big challenge. SGMA is locally driven, and it’s important that we support local processes. I’m gratified that the governor proposed $60 million in state investments to support local groundwater sustainability agencies in implementing their plans and undertaking land-use and economic planning. In thinking about resilience, we need to think of land, water, and air as an integrated system and not just from the perspective of our siloed programs. We’d like to find ways for SGMA, the Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation program, Healthy Soils, and other programs to work together to mitigate negative impacts and optimize outcomes for our rural farm communities.

PPIC: Going forward, what are your hopes for CDFA’s partnerships with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)?

KR: USDA is extremely important for California farmers—we are partners on the ground in a number of nationally important plant and animal pest and disease programs as well as natural resource conservation and rural development. Our relationship with USDA has always been positive from one administration to another. I am happy to have Tom Vilsack back as secretary—he’s a tremendous public servant and a very strong leader. And everyone is thrilled to have a Californian as vice president!

President Biden has made it clear he’s focused on both rural America and climate change; he has a deep understanding of the unique opportunity for farmers and ranchers to play a role in addressing climate change. I’m very excited about the growing focus on agriculture-led climate solutions to sequester carbon and create renewable energy, all while ensuring farm productivity to make sure we continue to have strong food production systems.

Link to interview on PPIC web page

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California welcomes Biden Administration actions on climate change

Statement from CDFA secretary Karen Ross:

I am eager to work with my friend and former boss Secretary Tom Vilsack to expand climate smart agriculture practices to more acres of farm and ranch land!  CDFA’s climate smart ag programs have been built on the great work at USDA under Secretary Vilsack’s previous leadership to create the climate smart ag building blocks and advance climate smart ag global alliances.   

USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service is a trusted partner offering technical standards for proven conservation practices and cost-share programs.  We have followed that NRCS model to offer voluntary practices, incentive funding, and technical assistance to build soil health, reduce greenhouse emissions, sequester carbon, improve nutrient cycling, generate renewable energy, and enhance biodiversity. 

We have great partnerships with the University of California Cooperative Extension and academia, rural conservation districts, ag and environmental organizations and other technical service providers to expand the infrastructure of climate smart ag support throughout California. 

However, at the end of the day, it is the leadership and innovation of our farmers and ranchers who live and work on the land – whether as new beginning farmers or fifth-generation and sixth-generation families – that will help California meet its carbon neutral goals.

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News Release

On the same day the Biden Administration announced a series of actions on climate, California environmental officials convened hundreds of stakeholders to begin advancing Governor Gavin Newsom’s first-in-the-nation goal to protect 30 percent of the state’s land and coastal waters by 2030 to fight species loss and ecosystem destruction.

Last year, California joined a global effort than now includes more than 50 countries to protect 30 percent of our planet’s land and waters by 2030. Today’s announcement by President Biden means the United States is now added to the list as well.

“California has long taken on the mantle of global climate leadership advancing bold strategies to fight climate change – including committing to protect 30 percent of our land and coastal waters by 2030,” said Governor Newsom. “It’s great to have a partner in Washington, D.C. once again that listens to science and is ready to take on this existential threat and get to work to help slow and avert catastrophic climate change.”

California committed to protecting 30 percent of land and coastal waters by 2030 last October when Governor Newsom signed an executive order directing state agencies to accelerate actions to combat climate change, protect biodiversity, expand equitable access and build resilience through nature-based solutions.

The agencies convened a public webinar today to kick off a collaborative effort to advance the 30 by 30 commitment and begin work on a Natural and Working Lands Climate Smart Strategy to be delivered later this year.

“Nature-based solutions to combat climate change have long been a missing piece of our climate agenda, and we are closing this gap in California,” California Secretary for Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot said. “The science is clear that our iconic landscapes remove carbon from the atmosphere and protect people and nature from the impacts of climate change – reducing risk of catastrophic wildfire, absorbing floodwater, cooling communities, providing habitat, and more. While the portfolio of nature-based solutions is vast, they all support healthy ecosystems on which all our wellbeing depends.”

“Today’s action from the Biden Administration marks a commitment to elevating climate and environmental justice to the top of our collective agenda. Protecting nature and restoring our lands and waters is fundamental for life on this earth – everything from clean air and drinking water to our shared food systems and the biodiversity that keeps our planet health,” California Secretary for Environmental Protection Jared Blumenfeld said. “We also know that preserving these invaluable resources means little if people are still left with the burden of polluting industries in their neighborhoods and without access to the same investments made elsewhere. That’s why we are equally proud and excited to see the Administration’s focus on 40 percent of all investments going to the most disadvantaged communities and the integration of not just climate, but racial justice, into all federal agency actions.  We welcome the Biden Administration’s partnership in taking bold action now.”

“We welcome a strong and renewed partnership with the federal government to scale-up climate smart agriculture, not just in California but across the country,” California Secretary for Agriculture Karen Ross said. “California’s record of investment in climate smart agricultural practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and sequester carbon demonstrates the possibility of a vibrant future led by farmers and ranchers in creating an agri-food system that produces abundant and nutritious food, natural fiber, and clean energy to achieve prosperity for our rural communities.”

Examples of nature-based solutions include:

  • Prescribed low-level fire—emulating tribal traditional practices— that reduce catastrophic risk, restore forest health, and protect habitat.
  • Restoring wetlands and riparian areas to reduce flooding in coastal communities, protect biodiversity, and sequester carbon.
  • Introducing more natural vegetation in cities, including trees and parks.
  • Improving richness and diversity of our soils.

The California Natural Resources Agency has launched the California Biodiversity Collaborative to develop a statewide, inclusive and equitable approach to protecting the state’s natural richness. To reach that goal, the agency is developing a geospatial information system called CA Nature that will bring together existing data on biodiversity, climate change and recreational access into one integrated place.

The system will provide insight into where biodiversity hotspots intersect with needs for equitable access and carbon storage, for example, or help identify areas projected to experience extreme heat or flooding where green infrastructure is needed. This system will be publicly available.

More information on the 30 by 30 effort and the Biodiversity Collaborative is available at https://resources.ca.gov/Initiatives/Expanding-Nature-Based-Solutions.

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Governor Newsom announces actions to improve statewide COVID-19 vaccinations

California has tripled and sustained its pace of administering the COVID-19 vaccine 

State identified need to simplify vaccine eligibility framework, standardize vaccine information and data, and administer available supply as quickly as possible

Vaccine Team directed to transition to a unified statewide network that will allow the health care system, providers and counties to do what they do best

New vaccine scheduling and data system My Turn launching early next month to streamline vaccination information for Californians and data reporting for providers

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today announced a series of improvements to the state’s vaccination plan. Incorporating lessons learned from efforts to increase the pace of vaccination, these new steps will make it easier for people to know when they are eligible for vaccination and how to make an appointment, accelerate the administration of vaccines on hand and improve the state’s ability to track vaccination data.

California has tripled the pace of vaccinations from 43,459 per day on January 4 to 131,620 on January 15. The ten-day effort to ramp up vaccinations exposed key improvements needed to administer even more vaccines when increased supply becomes available. Today, Governor Newsom announced actions to address these challenges by simplifying the eligibility framework, standardizing vaccine information and data and ensuring the available supply of vaccine is administered as quickly as possible.

“Vaccines are the light at the end of the tunnel, and I am focused on taking the steps needed to get Californians safely vaccinated as quickly as possible,” said Governor Newsom. “Our public health and health care systems have done heroic work administering more than 2.4 million vaccinations thus far. To reach the pace needed to vaccinate all Californians in a timely manner, we are simplifying and standardizing the process statewide.” 

Moving forward, there will be a single statewide standard and movement through the tiers. The state will continue through 65+, health care workers, and prioritize emergency services, food and agriculture workers, teachers and school staff. From there, the state will transition to age-based eligibility, allowing California to scale up and down quickly, while ensuring vaccine goes to disproportionately impacted communities.

Leveraging California’s spirit of innovation and technology, the state is also launching My Turn, a new system for Californians to learn when they are eligible to be vaccinated and a place to make an appointment when eligible as well as a mechanism to easily track vaccination data. Through My Turn, individuals will be able to sign up for a notification when they are eligible to make an appointment and schedule one when it is their turn. Providers will be able to use My Turn to automatically share data on vaccines received and administered with the state, reducing lag times.

Technology from California companies Salesforce and Skedulo, and implementation by Accenture, are the foundation for My Turn. It is currently being piloted in Los Angeles and San Diego counties and is expected to be available statewide in early February. Based on recent learnings, the Governor has also directed his Administration’s vaccine team to move to a unified statewide network that aligns the health care system, providers and counties with the strengths of each part of the health care system and ensures equitable and efficient vaccine administration, with a focus on communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19. This effort will be implemented in partnership with counties and local health districts. It will control variability and maintain consistency and accountability. The details of the system will be forthcoming this week.

To increase available supply based on existing in-state vaccines, the Department of Public Health announced a process that will allow for the reallocation of vaccines from providers who have not used at least 65 percent of their available supply on hand for a week and have not submitted a plan for administering the remaining vaccine to prioritized populations within four days of notice. 

Increasing the vaccine supply is the state’s top priority for the federal government as California accelerates the pace of vaccination. To date, California has received more than 4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, roughly enough for 2 million people at two doses each. California has 3 million health care workers and nursing home residents, 6 million people 65+, and 2.5 million Californians who work in education and child care, emergency services and food and agriculture.

In a January 19th letter to President Biden, the Governor named vaccines as California’s paramount priority with the Biden Administration. At the ramped-up pace, California vaccinates about 120,000 Californians a day and is on pace to deliver toward President Biden’s goal of 100 million vaccines in 100 days, if supply persists, and the Newsom Administration is committed to striving to vaccinate even more.

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California and Denmark Sign MOU on Climate Smart Dairy Collaboration

Cows at a dairy

CDFA Secretary Karen Ross and Minister Rasmus Prehn of Denmark’s Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) focusing on dairy innovations and technologies addressing climate change.  The signing event, which was held virtually, included agricultural stakeholders from California and Denmark, and featured a presentation from the Center for Policy Research on Energy and the Environment at Princeton University.

“In California, we have invested more than $264 million in Climate Smart Agricultural programs focusing on the dairy sector over the last five years,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross “This has resulted in more than 236 projects that will achieve a reduction in CO2 emissions of more than 23 million metric tons of CO2 equivalents over 10 years.”

“This partnership with Denmark on climate smart dairy collaboration will help to connect farmers, academia and government on the shared challenges related to methane emissions in the agricultural sector – providing the foundation for action and innovation in the future.”

This MOU continues CDFA’s international collaboration on climate smart agriculture activities. Over the last few months, the department has conducted webinars with Portugal (Lisbon and Tagus Valley) and South Africa (Western Cape). This adds to the ongoing work over the last five years which has included more than 10 webinars on climate smart agricultural issues with a variety of international partners.

Read the MOU here

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Upcoming event – Expanding Nature Based Solutions and Advancing 30 by 30

Visit this link to register for the event

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Secretary Ross applauds appointment of Jewel Bronaugh as USDA deputy secretary

Virginia commissioner of agriculture Jewel Bronaugh has been appointed as the incoming deputy secretary at USDA, the number two position at the agency.

CDFA secretary Karen Ross: “It is exciting to see President Biden choose a colleague from a state department of agriculture and Jewel is a perfect choice!  I look forward to working with her and Secretary Vilsack who will provide strong leadership to USDA in support of American agriculture and its consumers.”

Story in AgriPulse:

President-elect Joe Biden has tapped Virginia Ag Commissioner Jewel Bronaugh to be the next deputy secretary of agriculture, the second highest position at USDA. If confirmed, she would be the first woman of color to hold the position.

Bronaugh, who has run the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services since 2018, served as Virginia state director for USDA’s Farm Service Agency during the Obama administration, starting in 2015. 

She also has a doctorate in career and technical education from Virginia Tech and spent time as the dean of the College of Agriculture for Virginia State University, where she oversaw extension, research, and educational programming.

USDA’s deputy secretary traditionally oversees the department’s day-to-day operations. 

Matt Lohr, a Virginia farmer who ran USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service under the Trump administration, used a Facebook post to praise Bronaugh’s selection. “America’s farmers and ranchers can be sure they have a true friend and advocate working for them in DC,” he said. 

The top Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, said Bronaugh has the “background in farm services, research, and extension will bring a breadth of knowledge and experience to the department. As the first woman of color to serve in this position, she will be an important voice as the Biden administration works to address the many challenges facing our farmers, families, and rural communities. I look forward to learning more about her plans and priorities during the confirmation process.”

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said “Bronaugh has been a true leader — promoting the agency’s core mission while taking on new challenges, including our COVID-19 pandemic response and farmer mental health, focusing economic development to improve food access in underserved communities, and engaging youth in the field of agriculture. I am proud that she will be representing both the Commonwealth and all Americans in such a critical role at USDA and in this new administration.”

A bio provided by the Biden transition team notes her efforts to start the Virginia Farmer Stress Task Force in 2019. The task force was “organized in partnership with agricultural and health agencies and organizations, to raise awareness and coordinate resources to address farmer stress and mental health challenges in Virginia.”

Bronaugh has also worked to stand up the Virginia Food Access Investment Fund, a new program to address food access issues within historically marginalized communities. According to the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, of which Bronaugh is a member, her time at Virginia State also included work as associate administrator for extension programs and a 4-H extension specialist, where she developed and delivered programs that addressed issues of bullying among today’s youth.

Bronaugh was one of a handful of nominees announced Monday including Elizabeth Klein, deputy director of the State Energy and Environmental Impact Center at the NYU School of Law, as deputy interior secretary, New York City Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg as the deputy secretary of transportation, and former Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler as the pick to chair the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“Our administration will hit the ground running to deliver immediate, urgent relief to Americans; confront the overlapping crises of COVID-19, the historic economic downturn, systemic racism and inequality, and the climate crisis; and get this government working for the people it serves,” Biden said.

Former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was announced in December as Biden’s pick for another term as USDA chief. No date has been announced for his consideration before the Senate Ag Committee.

Link to story on AgriPulse web site

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