May 19, 2021
Presidential nominee’s background in organic ag remembered
Stephen Kloosterman

President Joe Biden recently announced his intent to nominate Jennifer Moffitt to serve as Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, Department of Agriculture.

But that latest post comes after a storied career that began in organic agriculture.

“Jenny Lester Moffitt is Undersecretary at the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), where she previously served as Deputy Secretary from 2015-18,” according to the White House’s announcement. “Prior, Moffitt spent 10 years as Managing Director at Dixon Ridge Farms, her family’s organic walnut farm and processing operation. Growing up and working on the farm, Moffitt learned first-hand the importance of taking care of the land and the people who farm it. Additionally, she served on the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board from 2012-15 and worked for American Farmland Trust from 2002-05.

“As a farmer and policymaker, Moffitt has engaged with agricultural stakeholders on the critically important balance of sustaining our environment, strengthening our rural economies, and building healthy communities. Moffitt is a graduate of Brown University and the California Agricultural Leadership Program. She resides in Davis, California with her husband and daughter.” 

Jane Sooby of California Certified Organic Farmers wrote more about Moffit’s organic roots in a blog post:

Moffitt has long been part of California’s organic community. She previously served on the CCOF Board of Directors when she was the managing director of Dixon Ridge Farms, an organic walnut farm in Solano County. Moffitt served as a member of the California Organic Products Advisory Committee, as an Organic Trade Association Farmers Advisory Council member, and as vice chair of the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board.

CDFA Secretary Karen Ross called Moffit “a shining example of the next generation of agricultural leadership.”

Jenny Lester Moffitt is a trusted colleague and a good friend, and she will be missed here in California,” she said in a released statement. ”But I am gratified that she will be serving a larger cause.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack looked forward to her confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

“If confirmed, Jenny will join a mission area that is focused on facilitating the domestic and international marketing of U.S. agricultural products, ensuring the health and care of animals and plants, and setting national and international standards – all tasks that she is well suited to take on,” Vilsack said in a released statement. “With her guidance and leadership, USDA will help to build more robust and resilient local and regional food systems that support new, fairer market opportunities for American producers and food companies. She will be a welcomed addition to a growing USDA team.”

Above: In this file photo, CDFA Undersecretary Jenny Lester Moffitt is pictured visiting a trade show booth of the University of Califonia Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Photo: University of California/Jeannette E. Warnert

Stephen Kloosterman is the managing editor of Organic Grower.

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