Karen Ross was appointed Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture in January of 2019 by Governor Gavin Newsom. In re-appointing Secretary Ross, Governor Newsom cited her unmatched leadership experience in agricultural issues nationally, internationally, and in California, in areas including environmental stewardship, climate change adaptation, and trade. Secretary Ross was initially appointed in 2011. She owns 800 acres of a family farm where her brother, a fourth-generation farmer, is mentoring a new farmer in growing no-till wheat and feed grains, incorporating cover crops and rotational grazing for beef production. Secretary Ross has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is a graduate of the Nebraska Ag Leadership Program. She has served on numerous boards and committees in California agriculture and with various academic institutions.