Ann Veneman was nominated Wednesday by President-elect George W. Bush to serve as US Secretary of Agriculture. She would be the first woman to hold the post. "I want to promote policies that will help all of our farmers reap a bountiful harvest for years to come," she said.

Veneman, 51, has held a variety of agriculture-related posts since 1986. She was the first woman to serve as director of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, 1996-'98.

She served in the U.S. Department of Agriculture under the new president's father, former President George Bush. Her roles included deputy agriculture secretary, deputy under secretary for USDA's International Affairs and Commodity Programs and associate administrator and assistant to the administrator for USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service.

The younger Bush chose the Californian over other possible contenders
including fellow Texan Charles Stenholm, a congressman who had been
mentioned as a possible Democrat in the Republican's cabinet.

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