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Dr. Basil Gooden

Photo of Dr. Basil Gooden

Dr. Basil Gooden

Under Secretary for Rural Development

Dr. Basil I. Gooden was confirmed by the United State Senate to serve as Under Secretary for Rural Development on Monday, February 26, 2024. 
Prior to his confirmation as Under Secretary, Gooden served as Director of State Operations for Rural Development. In this role, he led and supported USDA’s team of 47 Rural Development State Directors who extend USDA’s state-level leadership and help ensure the department’s investments reach all rural communities. From 2016-2018, he served as the 3rd Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Prior to that, Dr. Gooden served as the Virginia State Director for Rural Development at USDA. He has previously held roles as the Chief Deputy Director of the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, as a Cooperative Extension Specialist at Virginia Tech, and as a Farm Service Agency County Committee member. Dr. Gooden holds a bachelor’s degree from Virginia Tech, a master’s degree in social work from Syracuse University, and a master’s degree in Public Health and a Ph.D. in Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a native of Buckingham County, Virginia, where he and his family still own and operate a cattle farm.