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Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack On the Confirmation of Dr. Basil Gooden as USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development

Today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack offered the following statement upon the Senate’s confirmation of Dr. Basil Gooden as U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Rural Development.

“The Senate’s confirmation of Dr. Basil Gooden as Under Secretary for Rural Development speaks directly to the results of his work in championing affordable housing, community advancement, and economic development. I have the fullest confidence that he will lead USDA’s Rural Development mission area with the energy and personal commitment he has demonstrated throughout his impressive career. Through prior roles, Dr. Gooden has been directly involved in so much that Rural Development has accomplished in every state under the Biden-Harris Administration, from expansion of independent meat and poultry processing, to connecting rural households to critical high-speed internet through ReConnect, to supporting investments in clean water, clean energy, modernized facilities and other vital community infrastructure. Dr. Gooden is a true asset at the People’s Department, and I look forward to continuing our work advancing and improving policies that benefit agriculture and rural America.

“I want to also thank Roger Glendenning, Chief Operating Officer for Rural Development, and Farah Ahmad, Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development, for their exemplary leadership during this time of transition. USDA Rural Development is in great hands with this team, and I know they will continue to surpass expectations in the months ahead.”

One of USDA’s seven mission areas, Rural Development helps to expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas through numerous loan and grant programs. Dr. Gooden has served as Director of State Operations for Rural Development since July 2021, in which role he has led and supported USDA’s team of 47 Rural Development State Directors who extend USDA’s state-level leadership and help ensure the department’s investments reach all rural communities. Dr. Gooden will fill the under secretary position left vacant by Xochitl Torres Small, who was confirmed in July 2023 as Deputy Secretary of Agriculture.

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