Skip to content
Go to News

CDFA Secretary Ross Named California Agriculturalist of the Year

by Guest Blogger |

In celebrating the tradition and innovation of the State’s number one industry, agriculture, the California State Fair Board of Directors, upon the recommendation of the Agricultural Advisory Council, selects Karen Ross, Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) as Agriculturalist of the Year. 

The Agriculturalist of the Year award is presented to an individual who has contributed extensively, in a professional capacity, to California’s agricultural industry. Award criteria stipulates this individual must have demonstrated leadership and clearly represented the industry over a number of years in one or more of the following areas: finance, government, production agriculture, education, labor, research, communications, trade, and public service. Through her passion and advocacy for farmers and ranchers, Secretary Ross is held in high regards by industry leaders and her peers.

Secretary Ross said, “There is a wealth of education and real-world experience to be learned on a farm, like the one where I grew up. Every day is a reminder of that when I meet with farmers and ranchers, speak to a group of FFA and 4-H students, or attend a fair.  I count myself fortunate to have lived this experience, as so many past recipients of this award have done–and that list is humbling. One of the greatest blessings in my life is to serve the people of California and its great innovators: our farmers and ranchers–the stewards of our land.  It is a true labor of love and I am honored and grateful to the California State Fair Board for this recognition.”

Initially appointed as Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture in 2011 by former Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., Ross was re-appointed on January 9, 2019 by Governor Gavin Newsom. Governor Newsom cited her unmatched leadership experience in agricultural issues nationally, internationally, and here in California; including environmental stewardship, climate change adaptation, and trade. 

During Secretary Ross’ tenure, the Department has focused on core functions to protect and promote California agriculture, investing in the Department’s employees to provide the best service to farmers, ranchers and consumers and fostering an agricultural industry that embraces its role as a global leader on everything from the most technical aspects of farming to the broadest environmental imperatives.

Secretary Ross will be publicly recognized at the California Agriculture Day on the west steps of the State Capitol on Wednesday, March 20, 2019. She will formally be honored at the California State Fair Gala benefitting the youth scholarship programs of the Friends of the California State Fair on Thursday, June 27, 2019.


This article was submitted by the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Office of Public Affairs.