Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin made the announcement Tuesday
By Diego Flammini
A farmer from Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley will be the Commonwealth’s next top ag representative.
Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin selected Matt Lohr to be his secretary of agriculture and forestry after his Jan. 15 inauguration.
“Agriculture is the Commonwealth’s largest independent industry and plays a crucial role in Virginia’s economy and communities,” Youngkin said in a Jan. 4 statement. “Together, we will deliver for our ranchers, farmers and all Virginians to help ensure our farmers and ranchers thrive.”
Lohr grew up on his family’s century farm. He is now the owner and operator of Valley Pike Farm, a 250-acre diversified operation which includes corn, soybeans and poultry.
Lohr’s selection also signals a return to Virginia’s House of Delegates.
Between May 2010 and December 2013, he served as Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services under Governor Robert McDonnell.
On Jan. 4, the governor-elect announced Joe Guthrie would serve as his commissioner of the department of agriculture and consumer services.
Lohr also has experience working at the federal level.
In December 2018, then USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue appointed Lohr as Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service. A position Lohr held until Jan. 20, 2021.
The new ag secretary is excited for this new chapter in Virginia.
“When I walked alongside my grandfather on our farm as a small child, I had no idea the incredible opportunities I would one day have working in agriculture,” he said in a Jan. 5 Facebook post. “This position is a dream come true and I will work my hardest every day for the betterment of Virginia’s agriculture and forestry industries.”
Industry leaders are ready to work with the new secretary and commissioner.
Both Lohr and Guthrie are members of Virginia’s ag sector and will be able to address the needs of farmers, said Wayne Pryor, president of the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation.
“Both of these agricultural leaders have been involved with advocating for Virginia agriculture and forestry through their involvement with Virginia Farm Bureau,” he said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing our long-time working relationship with them in these new roles as they strive to advance agricultural interests at the state and national levels.”