Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin recently named two Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences alumni to lead two statewide agricultural positions. Matt Lohr '95 was named secretary of agriculture and forestry and Joseph Guthrie '89 was appointed 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,” Youngkin said in a statement. “Matt and Joseph bring decades worth of hands-on experience that will give Virginia a competitive advantage in the agriculture industry.”

Lohr and Guthrie join a long list of people connected to the college who have gone on to prestigious leadership roles in agriculture, including Jewel Bronaugh, who is the current deputy secretary at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“It’s wonderful to see our alumni making such a profound a difference in our communities,” said Alan Grant, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “They have been great ambassadors, and I’m excited to see them help Virginia’s communities thrive in the years ahead.”

Lohr represented Harrisonburg in the Virginia House of Delegates from 2006 to 2010 before serving in former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s administration as commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. He graduated from Virginia Tech in 1995 with a degree in agricultural education.

Lohr has worked on a farm that’s been in his family for more than 100 years. In high school, Lohr was president of Virginia Future Farmers of America (now FFA) and went on to serve as vice president of the National FFA Organization. His blue jacket from FFA, which still hangs in a room in the Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education, pays tribute to the university’s history with organization. Lohr has taught agricultural science, served as president of the Broadway–Timberville Ruritan Club, served as president of the Rockingham County Farm Bureau twice, and chaired the Rockingham County Planning Commission.

Guthrie, a senior instructor in the Agricultural Technology Program in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, owns and has operated a beef cattle and hay farm in Pulaski County. Guthrie received his bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics and was named Virginia Tech’s Man of the Year as the outstanding graduating senior of the Class of 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. In 2011, he was elected to a four-year term on the Pulaski County School Board and in 2015 was elected to a four-year term on the county’s Board of Supervisors.

Guthrie 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 McDonnell to the Virginia Cattle Industry Board.

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