Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food

Dr Jože Podgoršek was born on 17 March 1974 as the fourth child in a traditional farming family and grew up on the family farm.  Having an innate understanding of agriculture and working with the soil, he began his education at the Grm Secondary School of Agriculture and continued his studies at the Biotechnical Faculty, where he obtained his doctoral degree in agricultural economics.

He began his professional career in the economic sector, where he became well acquainted with vegetable production and the vegetable cultivation sector in Slovenia. While working at the company Zeleni hit d.o.o. from 1997 to 2004, he developed, together with his colleagues, the production of vegetables and introduced new technological solutions to Slovenian vegetable growing farms.

From 2004 to 2018 he was employed at Grm Novo Mesto – Centre for Biotechnics and Tourism (the former Grm School of Agriculture), where he became familiar with the functioning of the public sector. During his time at the school he headed a group for the reform of educational programmes in agriculture, helped establish and subsequently became head of the Grm Inter-Company Educational Centre, helped establish the Grm Research and Development Institute and was head of this Institute until September 2018, headed a working group for the preparation of starting points for the establishment of the Grm Landscape Governance College in Novo Mesto, where he served as the first Dean with full powers until his appointment as State Secretary.

In March 2015 he was appointed the first Food Supply Chain Relationships Ombudsman. His main tasks included monitoring actions by stakeholders in the food supply chain, raising awareness among purchasers of food in the food supply chain with regard to the legislative provisions and moral principles that apply to the purchase of food, raising awareness among producers and processors as intermediaries in the food supply chain with regard to the legislative frameworks for the sale and purchase of food and the rights of food sellers.

In September 2018 he was appointed State Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food. He held the office until October 2020 when he was named Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food.