United States Department of Agriculture
Dutch American Heritage Award 2002 Recipient
Ann M. Veneman was sworn in as the 27th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on January 20, 2001. Growing up on a family farm in a small rural community, Ann Veneman understands well the issues important to America”s farmers and ranchers. She has spent much of her career dedicated to food and agriculture issues and advancing sound U.S. farm and food policies.
Since taking office, Secretary Veneman has worked to foster economic opportunities for farmers and ranchers, ensure a safe and wholesome food supply, protect agriculture against pests and diseases, encourage conservation and environmental stewardship, invest in rural communities, and support the next generation of agricultural leaders through new educational opportunities.
Secretary Veneman brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the USDA. From 1991 to 1993, Veneman served as USDA”s Deputy Secretary, the Department”s second-highest position. Veneman joined the USDA”s Foreign Agricultural Service in 1986 and served as Associate Administrator until 1989. From 1995 to 1999, Veneman served as Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), managing agricultural programs and services for the nation”s largest and most diverse agricultural producing State.
Secretary Veneman has been a strong advocate of agriculture education and established the “Leaders of Tomorrow” initiative to strengthen USDA education programs, particularly those involved with mentoring young adults.
The Secretary earned her Bachelor”s degree in political science from the University of California, Davis, a Master”s degree in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of California, Hastings College of Law. In a personal capacity, she serves as a board member of the Close Up Foundation, a nonpartisan civic education organization