The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association showed strong support Wednesday for President-elect George W. Bush’s selection of Ann Veneman for Secretary of Agriculture.

In a release, the organization pointed to the California lawyer’s experience in agriculture and international trade as reasons Veneman should serve well in the role.

“This will be critical for the beef industry, as exports are our future for growth,” quoted the release. “Ninety-six percent of potential consumers of U.S. beef – nearly six billion people – live outside U.S. borders.”

Veneman formerly served as USDA deputy secretary (1991-93) and as deputy under secretary of agriculture for international affairs and
commodity programs (1989-91). She served as secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture from 1995 until 1999.

"Veneman's experience also includes a role as associate administrator for USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service (1986-1989), where she was involved in the last round of international trade negotiations,” quoted the release. "NCBA looks forward to working with Veneman and will urge her to implement key issues for U.S. cattle producers such as ensuring that trade laws are fair, continuing to open up new markets for U.S. beef, maintaining a free market system, ensuring that market information is available to producers and continuing to improve the meat inspection system to ensure that U.S. beef remains the gold standard for wholesomeness and safety."