“We are pleased that Secretary Veneman will address our 66th annual meeting,” said Kenneth Hood, Delta Council president and a Bolivar County farmer and ginner. “Secretary Veneman is very aware of the critical situation that is facing agriculture, not only in the Mississippi Delta, but across the United States, and we look forward to having the opportunity to exchange ideas with her regarding future U.S. farm policy.”

Secretary Veneman will be the sixth Secretary of Agriculture to speak to Delta Council. Ms. Veneman was raised on a farm in California and has previously served in several positions in the USDA, including a stint as Deputy Secretary from 1991 to 1993. More recently, she served as Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, managing agricultural programs and services for the nation’s largest agricultural producing state.

Secretary Veneman was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate and sworn in as the 27th Secretary of Agriculture on Jan. 20. An attorney, she earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Davis, a master’s degree from the University of California, and a juris doctorate degree from the University of California, Hastings College of Law.

Hood also noted that Delta Council decided to move the meeting from the Sillers Coliseum across the street to the new Bologna Performing Arts Center.

“After careful consideration, Delta Council felt like the Bologna Performing Arts Center offered us a whole lot more in terms of comfort for our members and guests, as well as the ability to utilize more in the way of audio-video technology,” Hood noted.

Veneman will join a list of noted speakers who have keynoted the organization’s annual meeting from the fields of business, literature, public policy and science. The Delta Council annual meeting will be held in the Bologna Performing Arts Center on the campus of Delta State University, beginning at 9:30 a.m. A catfish luncheon at 12 noon will conclude the day’s events. For further information about the Delta Council annual meeting, please call 662-686-3350.

Delta Council is an area development organization representing the 18 Delta and part-Delta counties of Northwest Mississippi. Each year, Delta Council members and guests are invited to attend the annual meeting of the organization, which features a keynote address by a respected public figure with a significant message for residents of the Mississippi Delta.