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Dr. Alma Hobbs


Dr. Alma Cobb Hobbs, sworn in as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration and led efforts to transform the culture of United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) while carrying out the Secretary’s vision to transform USDA into a model organization, positioned to meet the present and future needs of its employees and customers. Hobbs career bridged over 36 years before retiring from USDA in 2013. Following her retirement, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe appointed Dr. Hobbs to the Boards of Visitors at Virginia State University where she is currently serving as a Board member. She also served on two other Boards in Greenville, N.C, the Community Foundation of Eastern NC, the Women for Women of Pitt County, and is President/Board Chair of the Nathan R. Cobb, Sr. Foundation, Inc. Further she served as Chaplin for the Arlington Chapter of Links, Inc. and is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. She in now serving her first term as Town Commissioner in Farmville, N.C.

Prior to her last USDA appointment she served as the Dean of Agriculture at Virginia State University (VSU).  At VSU, her responsibilities included providing leadership and oversight for teaching, research, and extension as it relates to enhancing programs in Food and Agricultural Sciences for four units: Agriculture and Human Ecology, Agricultural Research, Cooperative Extension and The Randolph Farm.

Other positions held at USDA included, Special Assistant for Diversity and Outreach under the Assistant Secretary for Administration, providing leadership and oversight for the Offices of Outreach and Diversity including, USDA 1890 Program, Hispanic Serving Institutions, Native American Tribal Colleges, and the Asian American Pacific Islander Colleges and Universities. Hobbs served in many capacities with USDA/Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES) such as, Deputy for 4-H Youth Development Programs, Deputy Administrator of Family 4-H and Nutrition, and Deputy Administrator for Economics and Community Systems, where she provided national leadership for 4-H research, education, and extension programs as well as other related programs and activities. Hobbs earlier career with USDA began her professional career in 1970, serving as Assistant Extension Agent in Bertie County North Carolina and Associate Extension Agent in Wake County.

Over her career, she received numerous awards including being inducted to the National 4-H Hall of Fame, honored at the Museum of Science and Industry as one of twenty African-American Achievers in Agriculture, USDA Honor Award, Outstanding Contributions to the Home Economics Profession, just to name a few. She received her Doctorate and Master’s degrees from North Carolina State University, and a Bachelor’s degree from North Carolina Central University. Hobbs also attended the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and USDA Executive Development Seminars at the Brookings Institute. Her personal mission in life is making everything and everyone she touch, better than she found them. Hobbs values her family and friends and is committed to serving others, thus, making a difference in the lives of youth, families and communities.