Matthew Lohr, the 16th Chief of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, announced he will retire to his family’s Virginia farm operation, which includes poultry, beef cattle, row crops, and sweet corn.
In a Facebook post, Lohr said, “Serving as the Chief of USDA-NRCS the last two years has been such an incredible journey. I will always be extremely grateful for the amazing chance to travel the nation serving the finest farmers and ranchers in the world.”
He continued, “My farm manager is retiring and moving away, so I have decided to head back to Broadway and farm full-time again next month. My family has made enormous sacrifices with me being gone so much. I look forward to settling back in to a more normal routine.
“My sincere thanks to Secretary Perdue and Under Secretary Northey for trusting me with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I have been so blessed to lead this agency and I will cherish the experience forever.”
John Piotti, president and CEO, American Farmland Trust said, “AFT thanks Matthew Lohr for his service to America’s farmers and ranchers. As chief of NRCS, he has capably stewarded the agency through the implementation of a new Farm Bill and through challenges such as the government shutdown and the COVID-19 crisis. He did this all while prioritizing customer service in the Agency. And, as a farmer with firsthand experience with agricultural conservation easements on his own farm, he was a champion for agricultural land protection. We appreciate his service and wish him well as he returns to his first passion, working on his family’s century farm in Virginia.”
Lohr served as the 16th Chief of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. As chief, Lohr provided leadership for NRCS and its mission to support America’s farmers, ranchers and forest landowners in their voluntary conservation efforts through a network of more than 3,000 service centers in communities nationwide.
Lohr was raised on a century family farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. The fifth-generation farmer has spent his life working for the betterment of agriculture and stewardship on working lands. Lohr also served as both Virginia state FFA president and national FFA vice president before graduating from Virginia Tech in 1995. Before leading the NRCS, Lohr was commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and director of the Knowledge Center for Farm Credit of the Virginias.