Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin today announced Matt Lohr as the next Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry and Joseph Guthrie as Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
“Agriculture is the Commonwealth’s largest independent industry and plays a crucial role in Virginia’s economy and communities. Matt and Joseph bring decades worth of hands-on experience that will give Virginia a competitive advantage in the agriculture industry. Together, we will deliver for our ranchers, farmers and all Virginians to help ensure our farmers and ranchers thrive,” said Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin.
Matt Lohr, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry
Matt Lohr was raised on a Virginia century family farm in the Shenandoah Valley. As a fifth-generation farmer, he has spent his entire life working for the betterment of the agricultural industry and rural America.
Matt developed his passion for public service and agricultural policy while serving as both a state and national FFA officer before graduating from Virginia Tech with a B.S. degree in agricultural education. He has more than 30 years of experience as a professional leader and communicator.
Over the past two years, Matt has served as the Chief of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, an agency with more than 10,000 employees across 3,000 field offices and an operating budget of over $4.5 billion.
Matt previously served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 2006-2010 before being appointed as the Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. His other career experiences include serving as Director of the Farm Credit Knowledge Center, teaching middle school agriscience, operating his own leadership development company and serving as President of Valley Pike Farm, Inc., his family’s farming operation.
Joseph Guthrie, Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Joseph W. “Joe” Guthrie was raised on his family’s farm in Pulaski County, and received his bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from Virginia Tech. He was named Virginia Tech’s Man of the Year as the outstanding graduating senior in 1989. He earned a master’s degree in 1991 in agricultural economics and international trade from Massey University in New Zealand, where he studied as a Fulbright Scholar. In 2007, he was awarded the Eisenhower Fellowship in Agriculture to research international trade of beef from Australia and New Zealand.
Joe has ten years of experience as an elected official. In 2011, he was elected to a four-year term on the Pulaski County School Board. In 2015, was elected to a four-year term on the county’s Board of Supervisors. He was re-elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2019 and elected Chair of the board by his peers in 2020 and 2021.
He currently serves as a Senior Instructor at Virginia Tech and has been teaching courses in business management, finance, communications and leadership in the Agricultural Technology Program since 2007. He also owns and has operated a beef cattle and hay farm in Pulaski County. He has more than 25 years of agricultural business management experience that he has brought to the classroom, which he now brings to the administration.
Joe has served as the president of Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Faculty Association, president of Pulaski County Farm Bureau and president of the Virginia Cattlemen’s Association. He was appointed by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board and was appointed by former Governor Bob McDonnell to the Virginia Cattle Industry Board.
Joe and his wife Carol have three children and live on the family farm near Dublin.