Veneman grew up on a small farm in California and has always had a connection with the land. She has spent much of her career working on farming policies in the United States, including in California Wine Country.
Prior to her cabinet position, Ann Veneman worked as an Associate Administrator for the USDA from 1986 to 1989. She then became Deputy Undersecretary of Agriculture for International Affairs and Commodity Programs from 1989 to 1991. Between 1991 and 1993, she was the USDA’s Deputy Secretary. From 1995 to 1999, she was the Secretary of the California Department of Agriculture.
As Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Ann Veneman worked to eliminate trade barriers for U.S. Agriculture. She is credited with heading off public panic in the wake of the mad cow scare. She also did much to combat Pierces Disease which is spread by the glassy winged sharpshooter.
Overall, Veneman understood the complex issues facing California agriculture very well. She chose to resign her post after Bush’s first term.