Heidi Kühn, founder and CEO of the humanitarian nonprofit Roots for Peace, has been selected as this year's World Food Prize laureate for her work in turning war-torn land into farmland. 

Kühn, a California native, has helped transform landmine-ridden lands in Afghanistan, Angola, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Croatia, Israel, Iraq, Palestinian areas and Vietnam. Roots for Peace, her nonprofit, has also begun removing mines in Ukraine. 

The organization also provides training for farmers.

Kühn was announced as the prize recipient on Thursday at a ceremony hosted by former Iowa governor and ambassador to China Terry Branstad, the president of the World Food Prize Foundation. Kühn also has been awarded $250,000 for her work. 

Kühn was in Azerbaijan visiting minefields when the announcement was made. She said in a World Food Prize release that the award "underscores the importance of revitalizing agriculture in post-conflict areas, as a means of healing both the land and its people."

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"It is with immense gratitude and a sense of responsibility that I humbly accept the World Food Prize this year on behalf of Roots for Peace and the farming families of war-torn countries across the world," she said. 

At the ceremony, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Kühn exemplifies the same "passion" for agriculture as Norman Borlaug, a groundbreaking agronomist and the World Food Prize's founder. He also said the award is important for recognizing the importance of agriculture in fighting hunger across the globe. 

"This is a day of celebration, a day of acknowledgement of the work of one person to make a difference," Vilsack said. "But at the end of the day, it is ultimately a celebration of the power and significance of agriculture and of farmers everywhere."

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