Brad Copenhaver was named Virginia’s 17th commissioner of agriculture by Gov. Ralph Northam on May 21.
Copenhaver comes to the post after serving as deputy secretary of agriculture and forestry since May 2018. Prior to that he was director of government affairs for the Virginia Agribusiness Council and worked as a legislative correspondent for Rep. H. Morgan Griffith, R-9th.
“From his farming roots to his advocacy on behalf of agriculture, we have had many opportunities to work with Brad and look forward to continuing our collaboration with him as commissioner,” said Wayne F. Pryor, president of the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. “We are confident in his abilities to provide leadership for a number of critical programs that support farmers and agribusinesses in the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.”
Copenhaver, a native of Washington County, grew up on his family’s beef cattle and burley tobacco farm. He was a Pamplin Scholar at Virginia Tech, where he earned bachelor’s degrees in political science and agricultural economics. He also holds a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Washington.
Northam also appointed Heidi Hertz as Virginia’s deputy secretary of agriculture and forestry. Hertz previously served as assistant secretary of agriculture and forestry, and prior to joining the Northam administration she held positions in the office of the former first lady of Virginia Dorothy McAuliffe, the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth and the Virginia Department of Health.
“We appreciate all of the work that Ms. Hertz has accomplished in connecting farmers and food banks to increase access to healthy food for families facing food insecurity,” Pryor said. “We look forward to working with her as she starts this new role as deputy secretary, and we know that she will be taking on several initiatives to fortify agriculture and forestry as the top industries in Virginia.”
Raised in Lunenburg County, Hertz holds a bachelor’s degree from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech and a master’s degree from James Madison University.