Carl Nathe

By

College: Agriculture, Food and Environment

Secretary of Agriculture Encourages UKAg Students to be Part of Rural Economy

Published: Jan 17, 2014

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 17, 2014) – The economic health of the country’s rural communities affects us all, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack stressed as he spoke recently to students and faculty of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

 

“There is amazing opportunity if you want to be part of a new rural economy,” Vilsack said. “That is the single message I want to leave with the young people here today.”

 

UK was Vilsack’s first stop on a two-day swing through Kentucky.

 

“Secretary Vilsack’s visit gives us a chance to thank him for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s and the National Institute for Food and Agriculture’s support of the college, which is significant,” said Jimmy Henning, UK associate dean for extension and director of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service. “I think it’s important for him to see how this actually plays out on the ground.”

 

Dean Nancy Cox introduced Vilsack, saying, “We really believe that together with the USDA, we make a difference in Kentucky every day, and we’re very proud to welcome you.”

 

Vilsack focused on the problem of poverty in rural America as he spoke to a full house in the Cameron Williams Auditorium in the Plant Science Building on campus.

 

“These have probably been the five best years overall in agriculture we’ve seen in quite some time—record farm income and the best exports we have ever seen in the history of the country’s agricultural exports,” he said. “I fully expected traditional wisdom to play out, which is when farmers do well, the rural community does well.”

 

However, a study completed by the USDA’s Economic Research Service found that poverty in rural America is at its highest level in 25 years.

 

“How could it be that we have extraordinary opportunity in our farms and the rural communities that are located around the farms are not doing as well?” Vilsack said. “I think it’s because we have so few farmers.”

 

He pointed out that because productivity has increased greatly, it takes fewer farmers to produce food for not only the U.S. population, but also other populations around the world.

 

He outlined the four cornerstones of the USDA’s tactics to combat the problem.

 

“It starts with production agriculture, as it must,” he said. “We have to continue to invest in research to expand production, because as a world we’re faced with the challenge of producing 70 percent more food in the next 40 years.”

 

He acknowledged to the students that it is presently difficult for young people to establish themselves in farming. The entry way, as he sees is, is through alocal and regional food system, not necessarily production farming.

 

“So, production agriculture and exports, local and regional food systems and thejobs and the stable incomes they can create,” he said, ticking off the plan. “But it requires more. It requires us to think differently about conservation…. We have to link those conservation opportunities to new economic opportunities.

 

“And the last cornerstone of this new revived rural economy is what I refer to as a bio-based economy: the ability to take everything we grow and everything weraise and create new ways to use them. Particularly the waste products fromagricultural production.”

 

Vilsack traveled to Eastern Kentucky on Jan. 17, where he and Gov. Steve Beshear announced the designation of Kentucky as a StrikeForce state. StrikeForce currently exists in 16 states and provides greater access to the USDA’s poverty-fighting programs. This announcement comes on the heels of the Obama administration’s naming of eight southeastern counties as a Promise Zone. That specification, Vilsack said, was a commitment that federal departments will work collaboratively with local groups to bring more opportunities to the region.

 

“It’s an unlimited future, but we have to talk differently, and we have to educate our friends in cities and suburbs about precisely what rural America does for them and what farmers do for all of us,” he said. “We should be appreciative and thankful for every single person who has assumed that responsibility of feeding our families.”

 

ag_secretary_vilsack2.jpg
Tags:
September
 
1
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Labor Day - Academic Holiday
Mon
2
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Internship Info Session
Student/Faculty/Staff Mixer
Tue
3
Employee Educational Assistance Award
LNFS Presents: The Wolf of Wall Street
Last Day to Add a Class
Last Day to Drop a Course with 80% Refund
UK Volunteer Fair
Wed
4
LNFS Presents: Children of Men
LNFS Presents: How To Train Your Dragon 2
Black and Latino Male Initiative
Advance Your Swagger: A Night with Fonzworth Bentely
Thu
5
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Northern Iowa
Kentucky Volleyball vs. USC
LNFS Presents: Spirited Away
LNFS Presents: Mulan
Fri
6
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Kentucky Football vs. Ohio
#maxfest (Ukirklex Campus Ministry)
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Creighton
Lets Swing Dance!
Sat
7
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Morehead State
Sun
8
Diversity Organization's Council
Kosher/Soul? (Jewish, African American & Appalachian culture Fuse)
Mon
9
Working Moms Connection
Job Club - Job Search Strategies for Fall
Rock Star Professionalism Series
Tue
10
Massage on the Go
College: Do the Right Thing- A conversation with Dr. Smith
The Future of Islam
LNFS Presents: Fight Club
Wed
11
9/11 Vigil
UKNABJ presents: Ferguson, Missouri: A look at media, politics and black youth in the U.S.
LNFS Presents: Mr & Mrs Smith
Duo Damiana, Molly Barth and Dieter Hennings
LNFS Presents: 22 Jump Street
Thu
12
LNFS Presents: Searching For Sugarman
LNFS Presents: Sin City
Fri
13
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Men's Soccer vs. ETSU
Sat
14
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Pepperdine
Sun
15
Kentucky Week Farmer's MarCat and Craft Fair
Majestic U.N.I.T.Y.
Mon
16
Justice Delayed not Justice Denied: A Talk with Dough Jones
PRHBTN Gallery Reception and Concert
Men's Soccer vs. Xavier
Chellgren Seminar Series: Buck Ryan
Tue
17
Internship Info Session
Last Day to Drop a Course Without Appearing on Transcript
Caregiver Support Group
LNFS Presents: The Immigrant
Big Blue Commonwealth
Wed
18
LNFS Presents: Watermark
LNFS Presents: X-Men: Days of Future Past
Ryan Gardner Guest Trumpet Recital
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Lipscomb
Thu
19
LNFS Presents: A Band Called Death
LNFS Presents: Prisoners
The Case for Fossil Fuels-PEIK Seminar
Men's Soccer vs. Furman
Fri
20
Rock Climbing @ Red River Gorge
College of Pharmacy Open House
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Xavier
Sat
21
 
Sun
22
Diana Ferrus: 'Writing poetry has allowed me to live': Cultural Resistance in South Africa
Kentucky Law Schools Forum
Mon
23
Pinterest Party
University of Kentucky Chamber Winds
Employer Showcase
Job Club - 10 Questions to Ask Prior to Starting a Business
Men's Soccer vs. Lousville
Tue
24
Employer Showcase
Last Day to Drop a Course with 50% Refund
UK Elder Care Lunch & Learn
BPH Open House
LNFS Presents: Saving Mr. Banks
Wed
25
LNFS Presents: Culture Jam
LNFS Presents: Maleficent
¡Baila!
Thu
26
LNFS Presents: Ponyo
LNFS Presents: The Little Mermaid
Opening Night Bohemiam Festival
White Water Rafting @ Chattooga River
Women's Soccer vs. Mississippi State
Fri
27
White Water Rafting @ Chattooga River
Kentucky Football vs. Vanderbilt
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Green Apple Day of Service: "Pick It Up"
Swing Dancing!
Sat
28
White Water Rafting @ Chattooga River
UK Chorale
Dirty Dancing Trip
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Auburn
Sun
29
 
Mon
30
#TrendingTopics: Immigration Reform
Apollo Duo - Flute and Percussion Guest Recital
Tue
 
 
 
 
Sep 17
Internship Info Session 09/17/2014

Wed, 09/17/2014

Thu, 09/18/2014

Reset Page