Kelly Craft, former U.S. ambassador to Canada and to the United Nations, told the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce’s virtual Rooster Booster Breakfast on Thursday that she’s seen Kentucky food helping people around the world.

The meeting was sponsored by the Daviess County Farm Bureau and the Daviess County Cooperative Extension Office in celebration of agriculture’s role in the community.

Craft, whose father, Bobby Guilfoil, was a Glasgow veterinarian, said she grew up on a farm in a time when “your handshake was your word.”

She became U.S. ambassador to Canada in 2017 — the first woman to hold the position — and ambassador to the United Nations in 2019.

Her term ended on Jan. 20.

In 2007, President George W. Bush appointed Craft as an alternate delegate to the U.N., where her focus included Africa.

As U.N. ambassador, she said her first trip abroad was to South Sudan, where civil war since 2013 has killed between 50,000 and 400,000 people and left 2.24 million refugees.

Craft said she saw how American aid is helping those people.

“We’re the most generous people in the world,” she said.

Craft said she was at the border between Turkey and Syria, watching the U.N.’s World Food Programme feeding people food that came from America — and Kentucky.

“That food is their lifeline,” she said.

When she was ambassador to Canada, Craft helped negotiate the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, a free trade agreement between Canada, Mexico and the United States that is a successor to the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Craft said the agreement removed trade barriers with the three countries, which helps Kentucky farmers because Canada is the top international market for Kentucky farm products.

“I loved my time in Canada and New York,” she said.

But Craft said she’s glad to be living in Kentucky again.

Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301,

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