Farm Credit of the Virginias (FCV) announced today that Bette Brand, Chief External Affairs Officer, will be retiring after 35 years with Farm Credit to accept a position as Administrator of United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service.
Brand’s career has encompassed a wide range of roles, including credit, finance, marketing and sales. For many years, she supported the entire lending team in business development of a $1.8 billion credit portfolio and directly supervised the Commercial Agriculture and Agribusiness Lending teams. Most recently, her role included collaborating with ag industry organizations and agencies to develop programs to support farmers, advocating for agriculture on the state and national level, and educating policymakers and consumers about agriculture. Brand also oversaw the development and management of the FCV Knowledge Center, which provides education and training to farmers, ranchers and rural residents.
“Farm Credit of the Virginias and our customer-owners have benefited greatly from Bette’s diverse insight and dedication for decades,” said Peery Heldreth, FCV CEO. “While we’ll miss her exceptional contributions, we’re also proud that she’ll be bringing her expertise and understanding of the needs of farmers and rural communities to a broader audience.”
In her new role, Brand will help lead USDA Rural Development’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service’s efforts to support rural business development and job training opportunities for rural residents, applying funds and expertise to a number of initiatives including capital investments, technical support, educational opportunities and entrepreneurial skill development.
“I’ve truly enjoyed my career with Farm Credit. I am gratified by the opportunities I’ve had, particularly in contributing to the creation of the Knowledge Center that will help so many farmers in our area for years to come, and in helping educate our elected officials about the challenges farmers and rural communities face,” Brand said. “I’ve spent my entire career working with people in rural communities, giving me a strong perspective of their challenges and needs that I believe will be very beneficial in my new position.”
Brand will retire as of December 31, and begin her new position January 8, 2018.
“I’m so impressed with the USDA team and their dedication to rural communities and the people who live there,” Brand said. “Together, we’ll work to help rural communities across the country thrive and their residents develop and access viable jobs to contribute to their local economies.”
Brand has been a longtime member of the Virginia Agribusiness Council, serving as chairman in 2001 and again in 2017. She is also a longtime member of the Board of Directors of the Virginia Horse Council,
the State Fair of Virginia Board of Directors and serves on advisory committees at Virginia Tech and Virginia State University. Previously, she served on the Board for Virginia Cooperative Council, the Virginia Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom and was appointed by Governor Mark Warner to serve on the public board at the Virginia Horse Center. Brand holds a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science and an MBA from Virginia Tech.