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June 15 - 19, 2024

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2024 SASDA Conference

Speaker Biographies

David M. Kohl, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Virginia Tech

Dr. Dave Kohl is an academic Hall of Famer in the College of Agriculture at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA.  Dr. Kohl has keen insight into the agriculture industry gained through extensive travel, research, and involvement in ag businesses.  He has traveled over 10 million miles; conducted more than 7,000 presentations; and published more than 2,500 articles in his career.  Dr. Kohl’s wisdom and engagement with all levels of the industry provide a unique perspective into future trends.

Xochitl Torres Small, Deputy Secretary, USDA

Xochitl Torres Small was confirmed by the United States Senate to serve as Deputy Secretary of Agriculture in 2023. She is the first Latina to hold this position. Prior to confirmation as Deputy Secretary, Torres Small served as Under Secretary for Rural Development. In this role, she oversaw loans and grants to provide infrastructure improvements; business development; affordable housing; community facilities; and high-speed internet access in rural, Tribal, and high-poverty areas. Before joining USDA, Torres Small was a United States Representative for the fifth largest district in the country. She is the first woman and first person of color to represent New Mexico's second congressional district.

Matthew Lohr, Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry

Matthew Lohr serves as the 5th Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry for the Commonwealth of Virginia. He developed his passion for public service 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. Matthew served as Chief of the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, an agency with more than 10,000 employees across 3,000 offices. He also previously served in the Virginia House of Delegates, as Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, as Director of the Farm Credit Knowledge Center, and as a middle school agriscience teacher. In addition to serving as Secretary, Matthew, along with his two children, owns and operates Valley Pike Farm, Inc.

Zippy Duvall, President, American Farm Bureau

Zippy Duvall has served as president of the American Farm Bureau Federation since 2016. Prior to being elected AFBF president, he was president of the Georgia Farm Bureau and served on the AFBF board of directors. Through his leadership as AFBF president, Duvall helped to shape the 2018 farm bill and is working to ensure the 2023 farm bill effectively supports farmers and ranchers. He has helped defeat misguided regulations, shepherd new trade agreements, and make certain farmers and ranchers are supported through natural disasters and the ongoing impacts of supply chain disruptions and inflationary pressures.

Dr. Jewel Bronaugh, CEO, 1890 Universities’ Foundation

Dr. Jewel Bronaugh served as the 14th Deputy Secretary of Agriculture and previously served as the 16th commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Bronaugh is the first African American to be Deputy Secretary of Agriculture. She was previously dean of the VSU College of Agriculture before becoming executive director of the VSU Center for Agricultural Research, Engagement, and Outreach (CAREO). She is the current president and CEO of the 1890 Universities Foundation.


Dr. Ellis O. Henderson

Dr. Ellis O. Henderson, a native of Lexington, VA., obtained an Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts and a minor in Business in 1988 from Valley Forge Military Junior College. He earned a Bachelors in Speech Communication and completed requirements for a Masters in African American History from Old Dominion University. He obtained a Master of Divinity from the Samuel D. Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University and a Doctorate in Child, Youth, and Family Studies at Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Henderson is a former adjunct professor of Religion and Ethics at Strayer University and founder of NDUTIME Youth & Family Services. He is the founding Pastor of The Way of the Lord Fellowship and President of SoundMind Consulting Group, LLC.


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