U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue came to Central State University on April 5 to evangelize about the varied careers in the Agriculture Industry, saying “the future of agriculture is bright.”
By the time he left, he was even more convinced of that after talking with about 20 Central State students during a roundtable discussion.
Perdue brought his “Back to Our Roots” RV Tour to Central State, Ohio’s only 1890 Land-Grant University. During the Secretary’s visit, he also spoke to faculty researchers on the myriad of research projects faculty and student researchers are working on. “The thing about Land-Grant Universities is they solve problems for real-world issues,” Secretary Perdue said.
Central State University President Dr. Cynthia Jackson-Hammond said, since the University became a Land-Grant Institution in 2014, “We are the baby” of the 1890 Land-Grant Institutions. But she said, “we act, we think, we strategically plan as if we are the senior of the 1890 institutions.”
As an 1890 Land-Grant University, Central State’s focus on teaching, research and extension is centered on student development, cutting-edge research and providing critical knowledge to farmers and urban and rural communities. Signature research activities focus on Water Resources; Food, Health and Nutrition; and Advanced Agricultural Technologies.
Secretary Perdue talked about agricultural issues facing Ohio and other states, such as the problem of algal blooms, the need to do a better job with nutrient management and how to make the nation’s supply of food more affordable and healthy. The USDA is “vast, broad, it’s wide and deep. I would love for you all to look at the USDA as a career,” he said.
Mairah Gill-Pillow, a senior biology major, working on a research project using directed energy weed control, asked Secretary Perdue, “What is your advice for women in Agriculture?” Secretary Perdue replied, “the good thing is agriculture is not gender specific.”
Zachary Huff, a junior agricultural education major, asked about the current trade dispute with China. Secretary Perdue said he had spoken to President Donald Trump and President Trump told him, “Sonny I want you to assure our farmers out there that we will not let them be the victim of a trade dispute.”
Frederick Hayes, Jr., a senior who is also Mr. CSU, said after leading a tour of campus for Secretary Perdue, “He actually seemed like a very down-to-earth person.”
“It’s been a pleasure having him here,” Hayes said. “I hope he gained a lot of insight into the University.”