Chavonda Jacobs Young confirmed as USDA REE Undersecretary
By: Sydney Sheffield
Earlier this month, the United States Senate confirmed Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young to be the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) undersecretary of agriculture for Research, Education, and Economics (REE). President Joe Biden nominated Jacobs-Young in July 2021 and the Senate Agriculture Committee took up her nomination in a business meeting in January and held a hearing on her nomination in November 2021.
During the Senate Agriculture Committee hearing, almost 100 agricultural organizations and stakeholders communicated their “fervent support” for Jacobs-Young. The letter recognized her many years of experience and called her the ideal candidate to lead the REE mission area with the experience and scientific expertise needed to lead U.S. research, education, and economics into a new era of innovation.
Jacobs-Young has a long history at USDA. She currently serves as acting deputy undersecretary for REE, acting USDA chief scientist, administrator for the Agricultural Research Service, and is former acting director for USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. During her time at USDA, she led the development of the first USDA Scientific Integrity Policy and facilitated the reestablishment of the USDA Science Council. Jacobs-Young is the first woman and person of color to lead this agency.
The confirmation was celebrated by many. “American farmers and ranchers have had a competitive advantage on the world stage in large part thanks to agricultural research,” said Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. “Dr. Jacobs-Young is the right person to oversee USDA’s major research, education, and extension agencies. I am glad my colleagues and I could come together to confirm this outstanding nominee.”
Likewise, Ranking Member John Boozman (R-AR) said “Dr. Jacobs-Young has served American agriculture well in her career and I’m pleased she will continue her leadership as the Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics. I congratulate her on her confirmation and look forward to working together to support agricultural research and producers nationwide.”