In Cornell visit, US ag secretary highlights how universities can connect with and help farmers
U.S. Secretary Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack lectured at Cornell University* recently, highlighting the role universities can play in carrying out the Biden administration’s vision for agriculture policy.
Land grant universities were the target of a federal effort in the 1800s to help advance farming research and best practices. Cooperative extension programs, like Cornell's, continue to help interface between the university and actual people along the agricultural supply chain.
Vilsack said that system plays a major role in ensuring the programs and policies being offered by the federal government are actually being utilized.
“I think extension has the ability to sit down with farmers and begin the process of educating them about the entrepreneurial opportunities that exist and demystifying those opportunities, making it easier for farmers to understand where they intersect, how they could potentially take their small- or midsize-farming operation and participate in one or all of those opportunities,” Vilsack said.
The administration has three overarching goals for the ag sector, Vilsack explained: to stop the loss of farms, to implement sustainability practices like lowering greenhouse gas emissions and runoff, and to stop wealth consolidation favoring large corporate agriculture.
Vilsack also noted that state governments must also help ensure federal funding, like that put forth in the Inflation Reduction Act and the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure deal, gets distributed and utilized.
*Cornell University is a WSKG underwriter.