Matthew J. Lohr, 14th commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, announced Tuesday that he would leave the agency in early December to begin a new position as director of the Farm Credit of the Virginias Knowledge Center in Harrisonburg, Va.
Lohr has been the department’s commissioner since his appointment by Gov. Robert F. McDonnell in May 2010. He currently serves as the president of the Southern Association of State Departments of Agriculture, a post he will leave upon his departure from VDACS.
McDonnell, a Republican, is expected to announce a VDACS leadership transition plan for the remainder of his administration, which ends in early January.
Reports indicate Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate for Virginia governor, has opened up a substantial lead on his Republican challenger, Ken Cuccinelli, in the race.
Lohr said in a press release: “Serving as the commissioner of VDACS has been an amazing honor and opportunity. I have enjoyed assisting Gov. McDonnell and Agriculture and Forestry Secretary Todd Haymore in strengthening our commonwealth’s No. 1 industry. We have worked tirelessly to assist producers, promote agriculture and increase its importance and visibility all across the state. It has been a wonderful experience championing an industry I care about so passionately.”
The mission of the Farm Credit Knowledge Center is to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and resources for the betterment of all farmers through customer-focused programs that increase and advance the knowledge base of the agricultural community.
“Here I will have the opportunity to build relationships and serve as a resource for young, beginning, small, minority and veteran farmers, as well as the established full-time producers,” Lohr said. “It’s a very exciting opportunity and one that will allow me to work from Harrisonburg and be at home much more for my two young children.”
Prior to coming to VDACS, Lohr represented the 26th district in the Virginia State Legislature from 2005 to 2010. A lifelong farmer, Lohr and his family currently operate a 250-acre farm that includes commercial poultry, beef, row crops and sweet corn.
A graduate of Virginia Tech, Lohr was very involved in the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, winning the American Farm Bureau Excellence in Agriculture Award in 2003. He also served several years as his county Farm Bureau president and chaired both the Rockingham County Planning Commission and School Board.
As a youth, Lohr was very active in FFA, where he served as state president and national vice president in the early 1990s.
Matthew Lohr announced his resignation on Tuesday.