The World Food Prize Foundation

Ambassador Terry Branstad

Profile photo of Ambassador Branstad

President, World Food Prize Foundation

Former U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad assumed leadership of the World Food Prize Foundation in January 2023, bringing to the organization a legacy of public service, executive leadership and coalition-building on an international scale. 

He has had an important connection to food and agriculture throughout his career, including leading the state of Iowa through much of the 1980s Farm Crisis and rebuilding a state economy where agriculture drives many employment sectors. 

Ambassador Branstad has been a champion of the World Food Prize Foundation from its earliest days. He was serving as Governor of Iowa in 1990 when John Ruan, Sr., worked with Dr. Noman Borlaug to move the esteemed World Food Prize to Iowa and establish the foundation. 

Ambassador Branstad also was an instrumental member of a bipartisan collaboration of Iowa governors, alongside Robert Ray, Tom Vilsack, and Chet Culver, that resulted in the creation of the Iowa Hunger Summit, which gathers leaders and hunger fighters to confront food insecurity issues across the state. 

Ambassador Branstad holds the record as longest-serving governor in the history of the United States. He held the office of Governor of Iowa from 1983 until 1999, and then again from 2011 until 2017, when he was appointed U.S. Ambassador to China. 

During his tenure as the U.S. Ambassador to China from 2017 to 2020, Ambassador Branstad’s two greatest accomplishments included the signing of the historic Phase-One Trade Agreement in January 2020 and successfully lobbying the Chinese government to stem the flow of fentanyl into the United States. 

He is a founding partner of the strategic consulting firm Branstad Churchill Group, LLC, and in 2022 was named “Ambassador-in-Residence” at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where he received his Juris Doctorate. In addition to his role as president of Des Moines University Medical School, his public service includes election to the office of Lt. Governor and three terms in the Iowa House of Representatives. He currently is the national co-chair of the capital campaign to modernize the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch, Iowa. 

Born and raised in Leland, Iowa, Ambassador Branstad graduated from Forest City High School and received a B.A. degree from the University of Iowa. He and his wife Chris have three adult children and eight grandchildren.

If you would like to contact Ambassador Branstad, please contact his executive aide, Sherill Whisenand at

© 2024 The World Food Prize Foundation. All Rights Reserved.