Karen Ross, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, visited Fresno State April 24 and met with University President Joseph I. Castro, faculty and students.

Her visit included a tour of the new Jordan Agricultural Research Center, visits to culinology and agricultural business classes, a demonstration of the Bee Sweet Citrus Fresh Fruit Packing Line and a tour of the 1,000-acre campus farm and Gibson Farm Market.

“Fresno County and the Central Valley is the heart of agriculture in the state, and Fresno State is a big reason for that success,” Ross said. “The best part of my job is getting to meet students and seeing their intelligence and passion. There’s also tremendous work happening right here on campus with water conservation research that can help connect urban and agricultural areas, and we’re also seeing great promise in joint water recharge and recycling projects.”

Ross also attended the FFA state convention in Fresno, which was held April 22 to 25 at the downtown convention center and on campus.

“We were very excited to have Secretary Ross visit, and I think she was really impressed,” said Dr. Sandra Witte, dean of the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology. “Our students were equally inspired by her message and learning how they can make a big difference in helping our industry grow and meet the world’s needs.”
Ross has served in her position since 2011 after previously serving as chief of staff for former U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. She is a former president of the California Association of Winegrape Growers and former vice president of the Agricultural Council of California.