Agriculture Secretary excited about USDA’s work with ASU

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack speaks to students and professors on Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014. (Photp by Jonathan Williams)

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack speaks to students and professors on Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014. (Photo by Jonathan Williams)

Cabinet Member and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack told students and professors Thursday that the work the University was doing to bring sustainability to food and agriculture is important.

The first part of the lecture in the packed green room of Wrigley Hall focused on green energy. Specifically, Vilsack highlighted some of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s and ASU’s research partnerships.

“I think you all are doing a tremendous job,” Vilsack said.

The USDA works with many in the industry across the state of Arizona. In the last five years, it has invested nearly $16 billion in the state.

Vilsack’s lecture was part of the Sustainability Series hosted by the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. The series features many speakers and panels to talk about various issues in sustainability and green energy.

One of the many programs the University is working on that the USDA has funded is the Arizona Agricultural Mediation Program. It helps students work directly with the USDA to resolve matters of dispute in areas of the department.

The National Food and Agricultural Policy Project is another example that provides research analysis of the public policy tied to the USDA.

Vilsack said the USDA is often overlooked, and most people don’t know what the organization does. The USDA helps to regulate agriculture policy across the country and provide the public with information about agriculture.

Students like sustainable solutions graduate student Ryan Anderson was in the audience.

“I’m really interested in policy,” Anderson said. “Especially sustainability policy.”

Anderson said he is originally from Indiana, where agriculture is a very large part of the economy.

Corrie Whisner, an assistant professor at the School of Nutrition and Health, said sustainability is important for all fields and life.

“I wanted to brainstorm some ideas of some of the things I could do in the field of nutrition,” Whisner said.

 

Reach the reporter at jwilli62@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @JonWilliams_23

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