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California Department of Food and Agriculture

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

California Department of Food and Agriculture
Release #06-070
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CDFA Undersecretary A. J. Yates Announces Retirement

SACRAMENTO – California Department of Food and Agriculture Undersecretary A. J. Yates has announced his retirement from the agency, effective January 15, 2007.

Following three decades of farming in Fresno County, the 72-year old Yates started his second career—as a public servant—at CDFA in 1991. He worked under secretaries Henry Voss, Ann Veneman and William (Bill) Lyons, Jr. until 2000 and, following that, was tapped by then-USDA Secretary Veneman as administrator of the federal agency’s Agricultural Marketing Service. Yates returned to CDFA in 2004 under current Secretary A.G. Kawamura.

“A.J. Yates is one of the leading statesmen of California agriculture – a rare talent with a deep, intuitive understanding of both farming and government,” said Secretary Kawamura.  “I know he’s anxious to return to his family in Kerman, and we wish him the best. His sage counsel will be missed by all of us here at CDFA.”     

In a letter to Secretary Kawamura, Undersecretary Yates said, “It has been my great pleasure to work with truly creative thinkers who believe that farming will continue to be the cornerstone of California’s economy for many years to come. Governor Schwarzenegger is certainly one of the strongest proponents of this bright future for agriculture and I have valued his vision.”

Letter from Undersecretary A. J. Yates

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