Difference between revisions of "California Secretary of Agriculture"

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==See also==
==See also==
*[[Agriculture Commissioner]]
{{California elected executive}}
*[[Karen Ross]]
==External links==
==External links==

Revision as of 12:41, 24 December 2013

California Secretary of Agriculture
General information
Office Type:  Nonpartisan
Office website:  Official Link
2012-2013 FY Budget:  $428,315,000
Term limits:  None
Length of term:   Serves at the pleasure of the governor
Authority:  California Food and Agricultural Code, Part 1, Chapter 1, Section 101
Selection Method:  Appointed by governor
Current Officeholder

Karen Ross.jpg
Name:  Karen Ross
Assumed office:  January 12, 2011
Compensation:  $175,000
Other California Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorControllerSuperintendent of Public InstructionAgriculture SecretaryInsurance CommissionerNatural Resources SecretaryIndustrial Relations DirectorPublic Utilities Commission
The California Secretary of Agriculture is an appointed state executive position in the California state government. The secretary heads the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the state agency charged with regulating California's agricultural industry. The department's goals include ensuring food safety, protecting against exotic pest invasion and directly promoting California's agricultural products at home and abroad.[1] The secretary consults with the State Board of Food and Agriculture, an advisory body appointed by the governor to "confer and advise with the Governor and the director as to how the agricultural industry and the consumer ... may best be served by the department."[2]

Current officeholder

The current secretary is Karen Ross. Ross was first appointed on January 12, 2011; since the secretary of food and agriculture holds office at the pleasure of the governor, she is not subject to periodic reappointment.

Before becoming secretary, Ross was chief of staff for U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack from 2009 to 2010. Before entering public service, she spent over thirteen years as president of the California Association of Winegrape Growers and executive director of the Winegrape Growers of America. She also served on the California State Board of Food and Agriculture from 2001 to 2009. Previously, Ross was vice president of government affairs for the Agricultural Council of California from 1989 to 1996 and government relations director for the Nebraska Rural Electric Association from 1985 to 1988. She holds a B.A. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


The office of secretary of food and agriculture is established by California statute.[3]

California Food and Agricultural Code, Part 1, Chapter 1, Section 101

The department is under the control of a civil executive officer known as the Secretary of Food and Agriculture who shall receive the salary provided for by Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 11550) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code. He or she shall be appointed by, and hold office at the pleasure of, the Governor.


The secretary, like all civil executive officers, must be at least 18 years old and a citizen (resident) of the state. In addition, he or she must not be a convicted felon or an employee of a foreign state.[4]


Secretaries are appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the governor.[5]

Term limits

There are no term limits associated with the office of secretary of food and agriculture.


State law does not prescribe any particular procedure for dealing with vacancies in the office of secretary of agriculture. Therefore, per the state constitution, the governor fills the vacancy by appointment.[6]


The California Department of Food and Agriculture, under the direction of the secretary, is responsible for promoting and regulating California's agricultural products. Some examples of the department's responsibilities include:[7]

  • Setting and enforcing health and safety regulations for livestock, food products, pesticide use and horticulture in general.
  • Funding and organizing the state's agricultural fairs.
  • Performing audits of various products to ensure regulatory compliance, auditing the operational practices of businesses.
  • Providing marketing and statistical research services for agricultural businesses. The department operates 56 separate agricultural commodity programs.
  • Setting and enforcing measurement standards.
  • Protecting the state from exotic pests and diseases.


  • Animal Health and Food Safety Services
  • Fairs and Expositions
  • Inspection Services
  • Marketing Services
  • Measurement Standards
  • Plant Health and Pest Prevention Services[7]

State budget

The budget for the State Department of Food and Agriculture in the 2012-2013 Fiscal Year was $428,315,000.[8]


In 2010, the secretary of food and agriculture received compensation in the amount of $1750,000.[9] The secretary's salary, like that of all other non-elected executive department heads, is determined by Section 11550 of California's Government Code and is subject to annual increases.[10]

Historical officeholders

Note: Ballotpedia's state executive officials project researches state official websites for chronological lists of historical officeholders. That information for the California Secretary of Agriculture has not yet been added because the information was unavailable on the relevant state official websites, or we are currently in the process of formatting the list for this office. If you have any additional information about this office for inclusion on this section and/or page, please email us.

Recent news

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Contact info

Physical/mailing address:
1220 N Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 654-0466
Fax: (916) 657-4240

See also

External links