Joseph Guthrie. Courtesy of Pulaski County Board of Supervisors.

Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin has named Pulaski County farmer and Virginia Tech agriculture instructor Joseph Guthrie as his Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Guthrie also serves on the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors, where he is currently chairman.

The announcement came as Youngkin fill two top spots in the agriculture department. Former Del. Matt Lohr, R-Rockingham County, who has served at the federal level as Chief of the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, will be his Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry.

A bio distributed by Youngkin’s office was Guthrie was raised on his family’s farm in Pulaski County, and received his bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from Virginia Tech. He was named Virginia Tech’s Man of the Year as the outstanding graduating senior in 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.

Guthrie has ten years of experience as an elected official. In 2011, he was elected to a four-year term on the Pulaski County School Board. In 2015, was elected to a four-year term on the county’s Board of Supervisors. He was re-elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2019 and elected Chair of the board in 2020 and 2021.  

Guthrie owns and operates a beef cattle and hay farm near Dublin. He currently serves as a Senior Instructor at Virginia Tech and has been teaching courses in business management, finance, communications, and leadership in the Agricultural Technology Program since 2007.

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 former Governor Bob McDonnell to the Virginia Cattle Industry Board.

The outgoing commissioner under the administration of Gov. Ralph Northam has been Brad Copenhaver of Washington County.