New California ag secretary has many UC ties

Jan 18, 2011

Gov. Brown's newly appointed secretary of agriculture, Karen Ross, brings numerous University of California connections to her new office.

An article published yesterday in California Farmer magazine says Ross is a member of:

Ross was designated ANR's delegate to the national Council for Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching in 2008, and served as a member of the UC President’s Advisory Commission on Agriculture and Natural Resources.

In 2007, Ross received an "Award of Distinction" from the UC Davis CAES.

"Karen is an excellent sounding board for what issues are on the minds of growers and the kinds of research and education needs that would most impact their efforts to stay competitive in what has become a global wine business,” the award announcement quoted Jim Wolpert, former chair of the Department of Viticulture and Enology. “The department wanted to recognize her for her leadership both in California and nationally."

Most recently Ross, the former president of the California Association of Winegrape Growers, has served as U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack's chief of staff. Some lament the fact that Ross's California connection will be lost at the federal level and believe the fallout could be aggravated by other California power losses, according to an article in the Fresno Bee.

But state ag leaders support the appointment, said the California Farmer article.

"Karen Ross is well-suited for the role of food and agriculture secretary. She has firsthand knowledge about the many challenges farmers and ranchers face each day, not just in California but throughout the nation," the story quotes Paul Wenger, California Farm Bureau Federation president.

Rich Rominger, CDFA Secretary under then-Governor Brown from 1977 to 1982, said Gov. Brown selected the best person for the job.

"Karen Ross is the leader we need to address the critical issues of agriculture, water, clean energy development and climate change," Rominger is quoted.

Ross's appointment must be confirmed by the California State Senate.

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By Jeannette E. Warnert
Author - Communications Specialist