DES MOINES, Iowa – Former Iowa governor Terry Branstad has been named the new president of the World Food Prize.

Branstad served as governor of Iowa from 1983 to 1999 and was elected again to serve between 2011 and 2017. The Republican left the governor’s office during his last term to become the U.S. Ambassador to China, a role he served in until 2020.

“We are excited to bring on a leader with both global vision and strong roots in agriculture,” said Paul Schickler, chair of the World Food Prize Foundation. “Amb. Branstad, who was serving as Governor of Iowa when John Ruan, Sr., rescued the World Food Prize and moved it to Iowa, has been a champion of our mission from its earliest days.”

In a statement released Tuesday, Branstad said “I am honored to lead an organization bringing together the world’s greatest agricultural scientists and fostering the next generation of innovators. The World Food Prize is known globally for celebrating groundbreaking advances in biosciences, and I am proud to continue to build upon that Borlaug-Ruan legacy.”

The Des Moines-based organization was created by Iowa native Norman Borlaug, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. According to the organization, The World Food Prize’s mission is to “elevate innovations and inspire action to sustainably increase the quality, quantity and availability of food for all.”

The WFP awards an annual prize of $250,000 to individuals who have made achievements in addressing food security.