The World Food Prize Foundation

Secretary Mike Johanns

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Secretary Mike Johanns
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture | 2005-2007

Mike Johanns served as the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President George W. Bush from 2005 to 2007. During this period he worked to expand foreign market access for U.S. producers, promoted the growth of the renewable fuels industry and advanced cooperative conservation. Additionally, Johanns developed an in–depth farm bill proposal, which became the foundation for improvements and reforms adopted in the final 2008 farm bill.

Secretary Johanns' strong agricultural roots stretch back to his childhood. He was born in Osage, Iowa and grew up doing chores on his family's dairy farm. As the son of a dairy farmer, he developed a deep respect for the land and the people who work it. He still describes himself as "a farmer's son with an intense passion for agriculture."

That passion showed during Johanns' tenure as Nebraska's 38th governor. During his six years in office, Johanns was a strong advocate for rural communities and farmers and ranchers. He enacted a Value-Added Agriculture Initiative, signed into law the "Agricultural Opportunities and Value-Added Partnership Act," supported the development of a hydroponic produce facility, and signed legislation that focused financial resources on providing transferable, non-refundable gas tax credits for the production of ethanol. He also led eight delegations of Nebraska government, business, and agriculture leaders on trade missions to foreign countries including Japan, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Australia, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Brazil and Chile.

Johanns served as chairman of the Governors' Biotechnology Partnership and as the state government representative on the advisory committee to the Export-Import Bank of the United States. As a member of both the National Governors' Association and the Western Governors' Association, Johanns concentrated on issues important to agriculture, including drought relief, ethanol, and the 2002 Farm Bill.

Johanns is married to Stephanie Johanns, former Lancaster County Commissioner and Nebraska State Senator. The couple has two children and five grandchildren.

1983-1987: Served on the Lancaster County Board
1989-1991: Served on the Lincoln City Council
1991: Elected mayor of Lincoln, reelected in 1995
1999-2005: Served as Nebraska’s 38th governor, reelected in 2002
2005-2007: Served as the 28th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture
2008: Elected U.S. Senator for Nebraska
2013: Announced he wouldn't run for re-election
2015: Joined the Deere & Company board of directors

Osage Community High School
Graduate of St. Mary's University of Minnesota in Winona (1971)
Law degree from Creighton University in Omaha (1974), practiced law in O'Neill and Lincoln, Nebraska

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