On Tuesday, I attended a memorial service for Norman Borlaug – an American agronomist and humanitarian. Borlaug is one of only five individuals to date who has received the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.
Shortly after the service, I visited with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who spoke at the memorial. It was a good opportunity to listen to his ideas for American agriculture and share with him some priorities for Texas.
I let him know we appreciate the responsiveness of the USDA state offices in Texas and that we seek to have similar relationships at the senior level in Washington, DC. The USDA state offices are staffed by a fine bunch of people who work hard to support our producers, but many decisions important to Texas are made in Washington.
I also conveyed to him the diversity of Texas agricultural production and how we differ from other states with respect to having multiple needs requiring a direct partnership with USDA. Disaster assistance, trade/exports, plant and animal health, and rural economic development were prioritized issues. Renewable fuels were also discussed and I stressed the need to find win-win strategies that are sustainable and market based.
Due to time constraints our meeting ended before we could finish discussing other topics, including nutrition and the need to encourage the 3 E’s of Healthy Living - Education, Exercise and Eating Right.
I look forward to picking up where we left off and continuing our conversation of strategies for Texas success.