President Joe Biden has announced his intent to nominate Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young as Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics, U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Jacobs-Young is currently Administrator of the USDA Agricultural Research Service and currently serves as the Acting Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics and as Acting USDA Chief Scientist. Jacobs-Young is the first woman and person of color to lead this agency, which manages an annual budget of $1.82 billion.
During Jacobs-Young’s distinguished federal career, she has excelled in top-level positions in USDA. She led the Office of National Programs and the Office of International Research as the Agricultural Research Service Associate Administrator for Research Programs. As the founding Director of the Office of the Chief Scientist at USDA, she facilitated the coordination of scientific leadership across federal agencies within USDA, ensuring that the research and scientific information and data produced were held to the highest standards of scientific integrity. As Acting Director for USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, she provided leadership and funding for programs that advanced agriculture-related sciences. And as Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics Mission Area, she oversaw Agricultural Research Service, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, National Agriculture Statistics Service, Economic Research Service, and Office of the Chief Scientist.
Jacobs-Young has also served as a senior policy analyst for agriculture in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, where she supported the President’s Science Advisor and others within the Executive Office of the President during the Obama Administration on high priority agricultural scientific issues.
Jacobs-Young is a native of Augusta, Georgia. She received a B.S. degree in Pulp and Paper Science and Technology from North Carolina State University, where she was a three-time ACC track champion. She earned M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Wood and Paper Science, also from North Carolina State University, becoming the first African American woman in the country to receive a Ph.D. in this field. She is also a graduate of American University’s Key Executive Program on Public Policy Implementation. In addition to her career, and community service, Dr. Jacobs-Young is committed to family. This year she will celebrate her 25th wedding anniversary to Arland Young and she is mom to Autumn and Arland, Jr.
“Dr. Jacobs-Young has a deep understanding of USDA’s commitment to science, research and education and of the importance of advancing scientific knowledge to best serve the American people. For many years, she has served as an influential leader in agricultural science and research with notable experience working across the department and across federal government. Since 2014, Dr. Jacobs-Young has served as Administrator of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), USDA’s chief scientific in-house research agency. Previously, she was the ARS Associate Administrator for National Programs, where she led the Office of National Programs and the Office of International Research Programs. Her leadership experience in this area and expertise on agricultural scientific activities make her uniquely qualified to serve in this new role at USDA. Dr. Jacobs-Young holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in Wood and Paper Science and a B.S. in Pulp and Paper Science and Technology from North Carolina State University. She is also a graduate of American University's Executive Leadership in Public Policy Implementation Program. Dr. Jacobs-Young will continue to be a valuable member of our leadership team in this role and help continue to push forward our commitment to create a safe, sustainable, competitive U.S. food and fiber system, and build strong communities through integrated research, analysis, and education," said Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack in a statement.