Climate & Agriculture Leaders Recognized at CalCAN Summit

On February 28 at the Fifth California Climate and Agriculture Summit, CalCAN recognized three individuals for their leadership in the field of agriculture and climate change. Awards were given to experts in three areas: policy, science, and farming or ranching. The awards were presented by CalCAN coalition members Dave Runsten (CAFF), Reggie Knox (California FarmLink), and Kelly Damewood (CCOF).

The 2017 winners are:

California Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross – Secretary Ross has led the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) since she was appointed by Governor Brown in 2011. Secretary Ross has deep agricultural leadership experience in California and nationally. Prior to joining CDFA, Secretary Ross served as chief of staff for U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack for two years, president of the California Association of Winegrape Growers from 1996 to 2009, and vice-president of the Agricultural Council of California from 1989-1996. At CDFA, she has made it a priority to address climate mitigation and adaptation in California agriculture, and is overseeing the implementation of the state’s four Climate Smart Agriculture Programs.

Judith Redmond – Redmond is co-owner of Full Belly Farm in Guinda, California, a 400-acre certified organic farm operating since 1985. Full Belly Farm produces a diverse range of fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts, flowers, eggs, and meat. Full Belly Farm is a leader in environmental stewardship, and won the prestigious Leopold Conservation Award in 2014. Redmond has been a member of CalCAN’s Farmer Advisory Council since 2009, has long played a leadership role on agriculture policy, and was recently appointed to the CDFA’s Environmental Farming Act Science Advisory Panel, providing input on the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program and Healthy Soils Initiative.

Dr. Kerri Steenwerth – Dr. Steenwerth is a research soil scientist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service where she has worked since graduating with a Ph.D. in soil science from the University of California, Davis in 2003. She served as the co-director for the USDA California Climate Sub Hub from 2013 to 2015. Dr. Steenwerth has conducted innovative research on sustainable weed and soil management in vineyards of California, including a focus on developing practices to minimize greenhouse gas emissions from vineyards. She recently joined CalCAN’s Science Advisory Council, and has served in numerous capacities as an academic resource on climate and agriculture science to CalCAN and others for years.


This article was submitted by Renata Brillinger.

Renate Brillinger is the executive director of the California Climate & Agriculture Network (CalCAN). CalCAN brings a sustainable agricultural perspective to climate change and agriculture policy. Their efforts are aimed at increasing funding for research, technical assistance, and financial incentives for farmers whose practices provide environmental benefits.