Sandra J. “Sandy” Adams is not only the first woman to serve as the Commissioner of Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), but also the first without a farming background, according to the Times Dispatch.
The 435-employee agency has served Virginia’s oldest and largest industry – agriculture – since the 1800s. Although a farming background is not a prerequisite for the position, Adams initially hesitated to enter her name for consideration because all of the previous commissioners came from farming backgrounds, according to the Times Dispatch.
In spite of this, Governor Terry McAuliffe appointed Adams as the 15th Commissioner on June 6. Adams has a strong understanding of what the agency does and how it serves Virginian farmers due to her 30 years of experience working for the state government, with 18 years working directly for VDACS, according to the agency’s website. She came into the position in the midst of a state-wide push to sell Virginia’s agricultural products to markets overseas while preserving local farms.
“I am just honored and privileged, really,” Adams said in an interview last week at her office in Richmond, according to the Times Dispatch. “For me, things just fell into place.”