Local students meet ag secretary

Local students meet ag secretary

Posted: Friday, March 30, 2012 12:50 pm

It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for five Westview High School FFA students when they had an opportunity to shake hands with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack March 8 in Nashville.
Vilsack visited the studio of RFD-TV in Nashville that day in a town hall setting, which featured an in-studio audience of nearly 275 people while the affair was filmed live to an audience from the television station.
Vilsack kicked off the program with RFD-TV host Mark Oppold by saying America needs to be a country that makes, creates and innovates. Highlighted in the program by Vilsack was rural America’s ability to fuel the country’s energy needs through renewable energy.
The ag secretary also touched on USDA programs.
Specifically, Vilsack highlighted USDA’s recently announced REAP rule changes that provide fuel station owners with incentives to install flexible fuel pumps that is designed to offer Americans more renewable energy options.
Staying true to the idea of a town hall meeting, Vilsack spent most of his time fielding questions from the audience and phone lines on a range of topics, from cellulosic ethanol to CAFOs to USDA disaster assistance.
The Tennessee Future Farmers of America (FFA) president asked the secretary what young people can do to support domestically-produced fuels.
Speaking directly to 4-H and FFA students on hand, specifically WHS FFA students, Vilsack encouraged them to pursue jobs in the farming business and study the ag sciences.
The agriculture secretary wrapped up the show that day by asking the audience to thank a farmer or rancher for all they do for the country.
While farmers and ranchers represent only one percent of the nation’s population, they supply 85 percent of food the country consumes. Published in The WCP 3.29.12

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