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13 State Ag Departments Now Led by Women
USAgNet - 02/06/2019

So far this year, seven women have taken office in the top state agriculture jobs in Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Ohio, Oklahoma and South Dakota. POLITICO reports that women also lead the ag departments in California, Idaho, Missouri, Oregon, Utah and Virginia.

The trend reflects not just the growing number of women leaders in the industry, but also the gender dynamic in Congress, which currently features its largest number of women in history - 106 in the House and 25 in the Senate.

"We're breaking down glass ceilings for [women in agriculture], giving them opportunities to not just work the farm but step up in trade associations, step up in leadership," said new Florida Ag Commissioner Nikki Fried. Karen Ross, now in her third term as secretary of California's Department of Food and Agriculture, said she's noticed an increase of women in ag leadership positions since she took office in 2011.

"Oftentimes, I am in a meeting with a number of ag representatives on a current issue and at least half the table will be women," Ross said.

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