California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Secretary Karen Ross was recognized as the 2019 State Fair Agriculturalist of the Year at last week’s California Ag Day at the Capitol event. The announcement was made earlier in the month and Ross will be receiving the award at the annual State Fair Gala on June 27. The selection was made by the California State Fair Board of Directors, upon the recommendation of the Agricultural Advisory Council.
“I just get to do a job that I love and being called out for it seems like an embarrassment of riches,” Ross noted humbly. “There are so many fabulous people in agriculture, there are so many people I could name that deserve this. I work with the greatest people and I stand in the company of folks who over the decades have received this award…it is a tremendous honor and I appreciate it.”
The Agriculturalist of the Year award is presented to an individual who makes significant contributions to the state’s agriculture industry in a professional capacity who also demonstrates strong leadership skills over a number of years in various areas of the industry. Previous award recipients include Paul Wenger and Tom Nassif. “I’m so lucky to do what I do every day and to work with the people that I work with and for…. it’s very humbling, but it’s also a great honor,” Ross noted.
Ross was originally appointed as CDFA Secretary by former Governor Jerry Brown back in 2011. Citing her unparalleled leadership experience in agricultural issues, Governor Gavin Newsom reappointed Secretary Ross earlier in the year. “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to continue to work with this great industry. We definitely have challenges but there’s so many exciting things that are going on. The innovations that are coming are coming faster and faster,” said Ross.