Farm Bureau honors Ann Veneman for service to California farm families
December 4, 2012
Former US Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman speaks after being presented with the CFBF President's Award for a lifelong commitment to California farmers and ranchers.
From her childhood growing up surrounded by peach orchards in Modesto to her role as the nation's first female secretary of agriculture and beyond, Ann Veneman has maintained a dedication to the California farming and ranching community, which the California Farm Bureau Federation recognized with a special award presented last night at the CFBF Annual Meeting in Pasadena.
In presenting Veneman with the President's Award, CFBF President Paul Wenger described her as a dedicated supporter of California agriculture, particularly youth development programs such as 4-H and FFA.
"Ann never forgot her roots in the Central Valley," Wenger said. "She has a special respect for the state's farming and ranching families and has done extraordinary work on their behalf."
Veneman was nominated by President George W. Bush and sworn in as the first woman secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2001. Her time with USDA featured milestones in American agriculture, including record farm income, record agricultural exports and the creation of stronger pest and disease protection systems.
Prior to leading the USDA, Veneman served as secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, partnering with Farm Bureau and other agricultural organizations to expand trade opportunities and the adoption of cutting-edge technology on the state's farms.
In 2005, Veneman was named executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF. She served in that role through 2010 and now is actively engaged on a number of corporate and nonprofit boards. Currently, she crosses the country and globe promoting children's health and encouraging women to become more involved in public service and leadership positions around the world.
"Ann's contributions have paved the way for the next generation," Wenger said. "Personally and professionally, she has always given 100 percent to support the men and women who grow and raise our food and fiber. We're lucky to have had her as an agricultural leader in our state and nation, and we're proud to honor her with the California Farm Bureau Federation President's Award."
The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of more than 74,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 6.2 million Farm Bureau members.
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