Karen Ross

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Karen Ross
Secretary, California Department of Food and Agriculture
Assumed office
January 12, 2011
Governor Jerry Brown
Personal details
Born Nebraska
Political party Democratic
Alma mater University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Missouri

Karen Ross is the Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, having been appointed to that post by Governor Jerry Brown on January 12, 2011. She had previously served as Chief of Staff to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, a position she accepted in 2009. From 1996 to 2009, she was president of the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG). She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln; the Nebraska Agricultural Leadership Program, and the Graduate Institute of Cooperative Leadership at the University of Missouri.

Her prior experience includes ten years as an advocate for agricultural and rural electric cooperatives at the state and national level, both in California and her native state of Nebraska, and serving as a staff member for then-United States Senator Edward Zorinsky of Nebraska from 1978 to 1985, and working on several U.S. Senate and presidential campaigns.

A major leader in California's agricultural community, she was born and reared on a family farm in western Nebraska which she and her husband co-own with her brother where her family still raises grain crops, sunflowers and cattle.


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