Jenna Wadsworth

Wake County Soil & Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors


Jenna was the first out LGBTQ person elected to the Wake County Soil and Water Conservation Board!


Jenna Wadsworth grew up off a dirt road on her grandparents’ farm in Johnston County which raised hogs, cattle, chickens, corn, cotton, tobacco, and soybeans; she now runs the operation with her father. Wadsworth made history in 2010—at the age of 21—by becoming the youngest woman ever elected to political office in North Carolina. For over a decade, she has served the more than 1.1 million people of Wake County as a Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor and has been Vice-Chair of the Board since 2015.

As a Supervisor, Jenna has voted to provide financial assistance to landowners and land users who qualify for crucial technical assistance necessary to protect water quality, properly manage agricultural resources, and conserve the county’s natural resources and wildlife. She has been an advocate for and a volunteer with the District’s environmental education programs for grades K-12. Having grown up on a family farm, it was important to her to focus on farmland preservation and local foods enhancement in this role. With her leadership, the District secured its first ever conservation easement and entered into a Market Based Conservation Initiative (MBCI) program with the U.S. Marine Corps and the NAVY. The MBCI program preserves open space and restricts development under a vital military flightpath. She formerly represented the 11-county Area IV on the NC Association of Soil and Water Conservation District’s Water Resources Committee, and previously served as the alternate to the Legislative Committee from Area IV.

Wadsworth was the 2020 Democratic Nominee for NC Commissioner of Agriculture. She ran on a progressive platform of supporting small, family farmers; legalizing cannabis; combating climate change; advocating for farmworkers; addressing childhood hunger; and expanding both broadband access and healthcare options in our rural communities. If elected, she would have made history once again as the first out LGBTQ+ member of the Council of State and the youngest out LGBTQ+ statewide elected official ever in the country. Resultantly, her campaign website is archived in the Library of Congress’s historic collection of internet materials on LGBTQ+ Politics and Political Candidates. Her transformative campaign worked to build a movement for a new North Carolina with a broad coalition of support. She received nearly 2.5 million votes in her statewide race against a sixteen-year incumbent.

She is a graduate of both the NC School of Science and Mathematics in Durham—where she currently serves on the Executive Board of Directors for the Alumni Association—and NC State University—where she served on the Steering Committee for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Oaks Leadership Scholars program. She is the Co-Founder of the progressive nonprofit New Leaders Council-North Carolina, as well as the managing partner of her small business and a family farmer. Wadsworth is an active member of both Local Progress and the Young Elected Officials Network. For her work with the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitors Leadership Program and USAID, she was appointed to the NC Advisory Committee of the US Global Leadership Coalition. In 2020, she was named one of Raleigh’s Thirty in their 30s by Raleigh Magazine. She is passionate about building equity in the Southeast for B.I.P.O.C. farmers, especially those engaged in hemp and cannabis production. Wadsworth speaks on building progressive opportunities through agriculture and climate justice to various groups and has been interviewed by The Nation, PBS News Hour, NBC News, The Advocate, and other publications.

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