Ann Veneman

By George Grow

This is the VOA Special English AGRICULTURE REPORT.

The next President of the United States, George W. Bush, has nominated Ann Veneman as Secretary of Agriculture. The Senate is expected to approve her nomination. Mizz Veneman would be the first woman to serve as Agriculture Secretary in American history.

Mizz Veneman grew up on a peach farm in the state of California. She has spent much of her adult life working in government or as a lawyer.

Her father, John Veneman, was active in the Republican Party. Mr. Veneman was a representative in the California State Assembly. He later was a high-level official in the United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare when Richard Nixon was President.

Mizz Veneman joined the federal Department of Agriculture during the second administration of President Ronald Reagan. She rose to the second most important job in the agency in the early Nineteen-Nineties. That was during the presidency of George Bush, father of the president-elect. During that time, she helped to negotiate parts of the international trade agreement, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

Mizz Veneman left the Agriculture Department in Nineteen-Ninety-Three. She stayed in Washington, D-C, and worked a lawyer. Among the businesses she represented was Dole Foods, a large agricultural company. She also served as a director of Calgene, a California company that uses genetic engineering to develop foods. Genetic engineering is the technology of changing the genes of living things.

In Nineteen-Ninety-Five, Mizz Veneman was named California's agriculture director. She was head of that agency for four years. California produces the most agriculture of any state in the country. It has about twenty-seven-thousand-million dollars in sales each year.

Mizz Veneman will have to deal with a large number of issues as soon as she takes office. The U-S Department of Agriculture is a huge agency with a budget of seventy-thousand-million dollars. Last year, federal payments to American farmers reached a record level. At the same time, many farmers are struggling to survive because they are getting such low prices for their crops.

This VOA Special English AGRICULTURE REPORT was written by George Grow.

Voice of America Special English