(Washington, D.C., February 28, 2020) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced Bette Brand will serve as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Development (RD) Deputy Under Secretary following the retirement of Donald “DJ” LaVoy.
“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,” said Secretary Perdue. “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. 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.”
DJ has more than 22 years of experience working as a leader in affordable housing and economic development at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. LaVoy created and served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) where he was responsible for driving agency innovation. LaVoy led the replacement of numerous, outdated IT data collection systems with data streaming, and web portals architecture in a cloud environment. LaVoy also partnered with members of the federal family and all 58 State Housing Finance Agencies to lead the way in establishing a universal inspection standard for federally subsidized properties. LaVoy started his career with the United States Marine Corps and is a marine aviator and combat veteran. He earned his Bachelor of Applied Science Degree from Old Dominion University and his Master of Industrial Engineering from U.S. Army War College.
Bette Brand most recently served as the Administrator of Rural Development’s Rural Business Service agency. She came to USDA after 35 years with Farm Credit of the Virginias, where she served as chief advocate for the agriculture industry and rural businesses, supporting producers at the state and national level and educating policymakers and consumers on agriculture. Prior to this, Brand served as Chief Sales Officer, overseeing the business development of a $1.6 billion credit portfolio, managing a team of commercial agriculture and agribusiness lenders, and supervising FCV’s marketing and branding. She has wide-ranging experience promoting rural communities, having served on the Virginia Agribusiness Council, the Virginia Horse Council, the Virginia Cooperative Council, and the Virginia Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom. Since her arrival to USDA in January 2018, Brand has prioritized increasing rural America’s access to capital, investing in innovative technology, and helping businesses create jobs. She especially enjoys travelling across the country in her official capacity as Administrator to better understand the specific needs of America’s diverse rural communities and to discuss with local leaders the best way to serve them. By focusing on Infrastructure, Partnerships, and Innovation, Administrator Brand looks forward to continuing her work to help revitalize America’s rural economy. Administrator Brand has a degree in Animal Science and an MBA from Virginia Tech. She and her husband David live in Roanoke, Virginia and have three grown sons.