Bette Brand will be the new deputy undersecretary for USDA's Rural Development efforts with the retirement of Donald “DJ” LaVoy, the department announced Friday. Brand has been serving as administrator of Rural Development’s Rural Business Service agency.

“The mission of Rural Development to improve the economy and quality of life in rural America will continue to advance with Bette at the helm,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said. “Like President Trump, Bette’s drive and tenacity to fight for those living in rural areas and to increase rural prosperity is admirable. She is perfectly suited for this role.”

Perdue also praised LaVoy’s work in his short tenure as deputy undersecretary; LaVoy assumed the position in September.

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“DJ LaVoy is a true public servant and brought decades of leadership in economic development and affordable housing. We are appreciative of his service here at USDA and wish him nothing but the best as he heads into retirement,” Perdue said.

Brand came to USDA in January 2018 after 35 years with Farm Credit of the Virginias.

Since then, she has “prioritized increasing rural America’s access to capital, investing in innovative technology, and helping businesses create jobs,” USDA said. “By focusing on infrastructure, partnerships, and innovation, Administrator Brand looks forward to continuing her work to help revitalize America’s rural economy.”

Brand has a degree in Animal Science and an MBA from Virginia Tech.

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