New Secretary of CDFA

Karen Ross Appointed Secretary of California Department of Food and Agriculture

The California Climate and Agriculture Network congratulates Karen Ross on her appointment by Governor Brown as the next Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). Her appointment comes at a critical time in terms of preparing to support California agriculture in addressing a changing climate. At CalCAN, we are looking forward to working with the new Secretary on this issue.

Karen Ross has a long tenure of promoting the economic and environmental sustainability of California agriculture. Ms. Ross served for many years as the President of the California Association of Winegrape Growers and a member of the State Food and Agriculture Board. She currently serves at the Chief of Staff for USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.

According to Rich Rominger, “Governor Brown selected the best person for California Department of Food and Agriculture. Karen Ross is the leader we need to address the critical issues of agriculture, water, clean energy development and climate change.” Rominger was CDFA Secretary under then-Governor Brown from 1977 to 1982 and Deputy Secretary of USDA from 1993 to 2001.

California agriculture is $35 billion industry, covering a quarter of the state’s land mass and providing nearly half of the country’s fresh fruits, nuts and vegetables. Climate change scenarios suggest that in the coming years the industry will struggle with climate-related impacts such as water scarcity, extreme weather events, more intense and frequent floods and droughts, and rising temperatures. Resources, such as research, technical assistance for growers and financial incentives for on-farm conservation practices, are needed to support California agriculture in coping with a changing climate.

California agriculture is $35 billion industry, covering a quarter of the state’s land mass and providing nearly half of the country’s fresh fruits, nuts and vegetables. Climate change scenarios suggest that in the coming years the industry will struggle with climate-related impacts such as water scarcity, extreme weather events, more intense and frequent floods and droughts, and rising temperatures. Resources, such as research, technical assistance for growers and financial incentives for on-farm conservation practices, are needed to support California agriculture in coping with a changing climate.

Craig McNamara, owner of Sierra Orchards and member of the State Board of Food and Agriculture, believes that “Karen Ross is the right person at the right time for the job. Karen knows California agriculture and can bring together diverse groups to work towards a sustainable future for California’s farmers and ranchers.

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