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News Release

California Department of Food and Agriculture

Media Contacts: Steve Lyle, Office of Public Affairs, (916) 654-0462,,

California Department of Food and Agriculture
Release #06-060
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SACRAMENTO, Monday, October 23, 2006 - A.G. Kawamura, Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), is pleased to announce that former White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta will address the next meeting of the California State Board of Food and Agriculture. The session will focus on “Agriculture as a Strategic Resource,” and will be held at CDFA’s headquarters, 1220 N Street, Sacramento, CA 95814, on Wednesday, October 25, 2006, starting at 9:00 a.m.

Panetta was born in Monterey, California and grew up working on his family’s farm in Carmel Valley, where he lives today with his wife, Sylvia. The Panettas currently co-direct the Leon & Sylvia Panetta Institute for Public Policy, based at California State University, Monterey Bay—a university he helped establish on the site of the former Fort Ord military base.

"Leon Panetta is a world-renowned expert on public policy, and we're proud to say he's also a lifelong member of the California agricultural community," said Secretary Kawamura. "We look forward to his advice and insight about agriculture and its value as a strategic resource."

Three expert panels will address the strategic adaptability of agriculture from different perspectives. The topics include: The status of agriculture’s ability to meet strategic needs of the nation; the complexities of an integrated framework that includes stakeholders and technology; and proposals for development of a policy framework that considers the strategic role of agriculture.  Special guest speakers also include Mike Barr, President/CEO of the Agricultural Leadership Foundation, Dr. William J. Reckmeyer, professor of leadership and systems at San Jose State University, and Steve Randolph with National Defense University.

“Through a review of various issues affecting agriculture our board came to realize that within two decades the acreage available to feed each American will fall by half of what it is today,” said California Board of Food and Agriculture President Al Montna.  “We have assembled a group of experts to help our board think through a strategy to avert the day when we may not have the capacity to feed and clothe Americans with American agriculture.” 

The State Board of Food and Agriculture advises the governor and the CDFA secretary on agricultural issues and consumer needs. The board hosts forums that bring together local, state, and federal government officials, agricultural representatives, and citizens to discuss current issues of concern to California agriculture.

All California State Board of Food and Agriculture meetings are open to the media and general public. For more information on the state board or CDFA, please contact the department's public affairs office at (916) 654-0462 or Helen Lopez, Executive Director of the State Board of Food and Agriculture at (916) 657-3231.



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California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Public Affairs
1220 N St., Ste. 214, Sacramento, CA 95814