Megan Seibel, the director of the Virginia Agriculture Leaders Obtaining Results (VALOR) program at Virginia Tech, has been named Virginia’s assistant secretary of agriculture and forestry.
“I’m extremely honored and humbled to be asked to serve in this capacity,” said Seibel, who is also a Virginia Cooperative Extension specialist in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education. “This is a complex time in our industry when we are faced with a host of challenges that also present a number of exciting opportunities. I look forward to developing networks and partnerships so we can work together to help grow our agriculture and forestry industries.”
For the past six years, Seibel worked with hundreds of growers; ranchers; local, state and national government officials; consumers; regulatory agencies; and others who are involved in the agriculture and forestry industries as she directed the VALOR program. The intensive two-year fellowship is the state’s premier training program that works with agribusiness leaders to develop ambassadors for Virginia’s largest industry.
Agriculture and forestry are far and away the largest drivers of the state’s economy with a combined economic impact of more than $70 billion, including nearly 415,000 jobs. Seibel said she is looking forward to helping the industries grow even stronger by working on a number of programs that will directly benefit agribusinesses.
Seibel wants to promote farm business development projects, boost partnerships with the Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund, build relationships with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to increase federal funding opportunities, and develop leadership and capacity with producers to serve on industry boards.
Seibel earned her Ph.D. in agricultural and extension education in 2012 and her M.S. in career and technical education in 2007, both from Virginia Tech. She earned a B.S. in nursing from James Madison University in 1996. In 2015, Monsanto named her America’s Farmers Southeast Mom of the Year. She also serves on the county Farm Bureau board and is involved in the local Ruritan club, in part as project lead of the Book Barn program, where members can donate books about agriculture that are sent to local elementary schools.
Seibel and her family have a beef cattle and grape-growing operation in Botetourt County, Virginia.