Transcript of Secretary of Agriculture Ann M. Veneman's Speech To The College Of Food, Agricultural And Environmental Sciences Ohio State University | USDA Newsroom
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Release No. 0029.02
Printable VersionPrintable Version
USDA Office of Communication (202) 720-4623


Friday, February 1, 2002 - - -

MR .Bobby Moser: Good afternoon to everyone. We are really pleased to have you here. Most importantly, we are pleased to have all of our students here.

This is a very, very special day for Ohio, for Ohio State, and for the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences to have the Secretary of Agriculture to be with us here today to address us on the future of agriculture. And what better place to come to talk about the future of agriculture than a university campus, where the future agricultural leaders reside, and so we are very, very pleased to have that.

In order to give us the official welcome, give her the official welcome to the Ohio State University and to the campus, is our own president, Dr. Brit Kirwan, the twelfth president of the Ohio State university.

Dr. Kirwan?


DR. KIRWAN: Thank you very much. Thank you very, very much, Bobby. Thank you for the welcome and for arranging such an impressive event for our Secretary.

It is, indeed, a great pleasure and honor for the Ohio State University to welcome United States Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman to the Ohio State University.

Last fall, a few other university presidents and I had the privilege of meeting with Secretary Veneman in her office, and each of us came out of that meeting extremely impressed and encouraged by her global vision for the agricultural industry and by her commitment to agricultural education. That commitment is exemplified by her generous offer to speak with our students today.

In her first year as our 27th Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary Veneman has faced, and successfully met, daunting and often unexpected challenges from the foot and mouth disease scare to energy shortages in California to the new concerns about the safety of our food supplies brought on by the terrorist attacks of September 11th, and now she is providing leadership as a major farm bill works its way through Congress.

Secretary Veneman, I would like to thank you, personally, and on behalf of the entire university community for taking time out of your very busy schedule to share your thoughts and your vision with our students here and by satellite with our students at our regional campus in Wooster. I think all of you need to know that when she said she would come to the university, it was under the condition that she got to be with students. That's what was of interest to her.

These are some of the finest agriculture, environmental and food science students in the country, Secretary Veneman, and they are the future of America's great agricultural industry. We are extremely proud of these students and of Ohio State's College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences which, for more than a century, has helped to create the know-how that has improved food production around the globe and has made this country the world's agricultural leader.

Today, our faculty and students are continuing this great tradition of innovation. They are improving a wide variety of crops and food products. They are developing methods to ensure the safety of our food, and they are preserving our world's vital natural resources. Indeed, the researchers, teachers, and students here today are some of the America's most valuable resources.

Secretary Veneman, again, welcome to Ohio State University, and thank you for sharing your experience and your vision with us. We look forward to a long and fruitful relationship as we work with you to achieve your very exciting vision.

Welcome to Ohio State.


MR. Moser : Thank you, Dr. Kirwan. You may have heard in his comments that we do have this video-linked to the Wooster campus, and so we have both campuses on today to hear the Secretary.

The format that we'll use today is that, after the Secretary has been introduced, she will make some comments, and she'll be talking about the future of agriculture, and the farm bill, and probably many other things that she's got in her comments today.

Then she's going to open it up for questions, and I will moderate the questions, but we have microphones we can pass around to you. So be thinking about your questions now. Write them down, and we'll get to you as soon as possible. I will probably take it by sections as we go through.

We'll probably start over here with this section first, and then we'll just kind of move around until we get our time used up. We have to be out of the room by 2 o'clock because, Madam Secretary, there is another class coming in here at 2 o'clock. So we've got to get this class done and then move on to the next class.

But to give the official introduction, I am really pleased to introduce the President of our Student Council, Emily Buckston-Adams, who is a senior in food science and technology and is a native of Eastern Ohio, and is currently serving as President of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Student Council.

She is an honors program student and earned one of only ten presidential scholarships from the Ohio State University when she entered Ohio State in the autumn of 1997. She served as the State President of the Ohio FFA in 1996 and '97--we've got a few of those up here with us today--and took a year away from Ohio State to serve as Eastern Regional Vice President for the National FFA Association in 1999.

Emily will complete her honors program this spring and will begin graduate school in food science this fall. Please welcome Emily Adams.



MS. ADAMS: Thank you. Our speaker for this afternoon is from Modesto, California, which is in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley, one of the greatest agricultural areas in our country. She was raised on a peach farm there. She earned her bachelor's degree from the University of California at Davis in political science, a master's degree in public policy from the University of California at Berkeley, and a juris doctorate degree from the University of California Hastings Law School.

She joined the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Services in 1986 and served as Associate Administrator until 1989. She then served as Deputy Under Secretary for Agriculture for International Affairs and Commodity Programs, and then from '91 to '93, served as USDA Deputy Secretary. During this time, she was actively involved in the Uruguay Round of GATT negotiations, NAFTA, and the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement.

From 1995 to '99, she served as Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, managing agricultural programs and services for the nation's largest agricultural producing state. During her tenure, she pioneered programs and partnerships to enhance food safety, pest and disease prevention and control, and agricultural education.

On January 20, 2001, she was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate and sworn in as the 27th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. She brings a wealth of knowledge and understanding of agricultural policies and issues and has pledged to foster an atmosphere of teamwork, innovation, mutual respect and common sense within the Department and focus on improving delivery systems and services.

Please help me welcome our U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary Ann Veneman.


SECRETARY VENEMAN: "Well, thank you, Emily, very, very much for that kind introduction. I really appreciate it. It's wonderful to hear about your leadership at such a young age--your presidency of the FFA and here of the Student Council.

"It's a pleasure to be here on the Ohio State campus with President Kirwan. As he mentioned, he's been in my office, and we really value the partnership that we have with the ag schools all around the country because that partnership with USDA is, indeed, a very important one.

"Dean Moser and I have been friends for a long time, having served together on the Farm Foundation, which is an organization, a national organization that brings leaders in agriculture together to really talk about the issues of the future of agriculture, and so it is a great opportunity to be here with him and to be here with so many of you.

"I also want to introduce Colleen Hefferman from USDA's--I forget what all of these initials stand for. Colleen, where are you? Here she is. She oversees all of our relationships with the universities, ag universities throughout the country, including our relationship with the 4H. We're very pleased today to have with us this group of young people here, Ohio FFA members and 4H members who have agreed to join us, the leadership of some in the organizations.

"I understand that Ohio is considered to be the birthplace of 4H.


"And that A.B. Graham really started the 4H in 1902, and that means that this year is the 100th anniversary of 4H, and we are doing a series of events to celebrate that 100th anniversary and what 4H means today.

"It's great to be here in Ohio. We've had a very busy week. We've been traveling around, had to make a few adjustments here and there, due to Mother Nature, but after the State of the Union, which was on Tuesday night, we wanted to make a tour to certain states around the country and talk to some agriculture audiences, talk about the President's message.

"It was really quite wonderful to be on the floor of the Congress during the State of the Union, to be a part of what was really a very bipartisan supportive response to our President's message, and that was a message of continuing the fight on terrorism, of winning that war, one of homeland security and one of stimulating our economy with more and additional jobs. And so it was--it was really, I think, a very important speech, one that's important to agriculture, and I'll talk some about that as we go forward.

"It's really a great honor for me to be part of this administration, to be part of this tremendous Cabinet, and to be serving this President. I had the opportunity just a couple of weeks ago to travel to Illinois and Missouri with the President as he went out and talked with people who are involved in agriculture. We went to the John Deere plant in Moline, Illinois, and then on to a feed mill in Missouri. And he got just a remarkable response as we drove out in the country. To see people lined all along the streets, waving flags and waving to the President and supporting what's happening in this country and what's happening today. The sense of patriotism that we felt was just incredible.

"We started off this week in our post-State of the Union travels. I got up Wednesday morning thinking I was going to Kansas City, and I ended up going to bed that night in Savannah, Georgia. Now, how did that happen?

"Well, we were going to Kansas City because it's where we have more USDA employees than any place else except Washington. We run a lot of our programs in Kansas City. And we had the intent to meet with employees and to talk to them about the importance of implementing a new farm bill as soon as it's passed and completed this year by Congress and getting ready for that.

"But, unfortunately, the weather did not allow us to land there, so we went to another meeting of the Farm Service Agency employees that was taking place in Savannah, Georgia, and had an opportunity to discuss just that topic with them.

"But what was more important about this meeting that was taking place in Savannah is they were looking at the future of technology in administering USDA programs, getting more and more of what we do online so that we can have more user-friendly programs. So that people can access maps and information and all of their government relationship online. And that's a very important part of what we're trying to do in USDA, is make our programs so that they are more user-friendly.

"We then traveled yesterday to the great State of Texas, down in San Angelo, where we had the opportunity to really talk about issues of protecting our food supply, protecting it against pests and diseases. You know, we started out last year, when I had first came in, with a tremendous issue of trying to deal with foot-and-mouth disease, making sure that what we saw happening in the United Kingdom was not going to happen in this country. We haven't had foot-and-mouth disease in this country for 70 years, and we wanted to make sure that we didn't get it.

'So we started reviewing all our systems, making sure that we had additional people at the border, enhancing our relationships with the states, so that we would be not only prepared to detect but to respond in the unfortunate circumstance that something might happen.

"But we are now talking about these issues in even a more important way after September 11th . We want to make sure that not only do we protect our food supply from accidental threats, but also intentional things that could happen.

'The world has changed since September 11th, and we have to look at things entirely differently. So we're working with the entire food chain, from the producer side, farmers, processors, to transportation, to retailers, everything in between, to make sure that we have best management practices, checks and balances, and that we will be able to detect any unusual or unfortunate circumstance that might impact our food supply.

"On Monday, I will announce--after the President's overall budget is announced, I will then have a press conference announcing the U.S. Department of Agriculture's budget. In that budget we will have $131 million in additional spending for protection and eradication, food safety programs, and the research that supports new knowledge about how we can better do those things.

"The President talked about how important this issue is, the issue of homeland security, in his State of the Union. And I must say that we in agriculture and the food system have a very key role to play in that regard. It's about investing in our future. It's about taking time with future leaders like all of you are.

"So one of the things that the President did talk about also in the State of the Union is about the importance of giving back, of giving back to our communities, of helping support the war on terrorism, of helping support homeland security. So we are now today announcing a program to look at the ways that agriculture can invest in the future. That we can give back, and that is, talking to leaders all across the nation about the future leaders in agriculture, such as all of you are, about what the issues of today and tomorrow are. So we're talking directly to youth. We're talking to our future leaders about the issues of today and how we're going to prepare for our future.

"I'm going to be going to schools around the country to hear and interact directly with young people and students about what kind of things you believe the future will bring and what we can do together in public-private partnerships to make the future of our food and agriculture system as good as it can possibly be.

"You know, as you look around--and I was talking with some of your student leaders just before this address today about the opportunities in the food and agriculture system today, whether it's in science or marketing or production agriculture, processing, food science, nutrition--all of these are tremendous opportunities for the future. You look at the facts today--so many people look at agriculture and say agriculture, farmers, you know, are sort of old-time kind of things. But the fact of the matter is, and you here know, that agriculture is a high-tech industry. And there is so much that the youth and the leaders of tomorrow have to offer because the change is happening so rapidly. It's a globalized food system today. It's one that's driven by science and new technologies, by biotechnology, by new technologies that impact the way we produce. There's technology on tractors. There's technology in the way we market. Technology is changing every aspect of the way food is produced, marketed, and distributed in this country and around the world.

"We're going to see new science come together that will look at health-related aspects of food production. I see that medical and ag biotechnology will come together and we will be producing new crops and products that will help heal and make people healthier.

"So the career opportunities in the food and agriculture sector for the future are tremendous, and I know that those of you who were involved in the schools here know that. You wouldn't be here if you didn't know that. But also in the government--and I've talked to some of you about government service today. Some of you would like to serve in the public sector.

'And you look at a place like the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and I can honestly say that we have careers in the USDA that range from A to Z, from accountants to zoologists, from researchers to scientists, to food safety experts, to farm program administrators, quarantine inspectors, trade negotiators, forest firefighters. We have the Forest Service in USDA, too. So we have such a broad range of opportunities and careers in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and in government in general, that I think that will provide many young people of the future a tremendous career path for the future.

"When we were in--as I said, in Texas, we were talking about some of the programs that we administer. The fact that a boll weevil eradication program that's now become effective has reduced the amount of pesticides that farmers now have to use. Not only do they not have to purchase those inputs so it's more cost-effective for farmers, but it's better for the environment.

'We are extremely pleased to be launching this initiative today, looking at the future, looking at opportunities for young people, and trying to promote the leaders of tomorrow with what we're doing.

"One of the things that we did earlier this year is we were--I forget that we've changed years. It's 2002 now. Last year, we issued a book called "Food and Agriculture Policy: Taking Stock for a New Century." And if any of you have not seen this, I would recommend it to you. It is a book that is looking at the change in agriculture, the changing kinds of systems, the change in technology and so forth. And it's on our website at, and I would recommend it to you if you want to take a look.

"Also at the State of the Union, the President announced the Freedom Corps as a way that you all --the country may help. And I would encourage all of you to take his lead, to look at how you can give back to your communities, to come together in an effort toward homeland security, of bringing communities together, of helping those in need, of mentoring those younger.

"I talked with some of the folks here today who were telling me about how the ag students here reach out to the inner-city grammar school kids and teach them about agriculture. What a wonderful thing. And it's exactly what the President was talking about in his State of the Union address, and that is: How do you mentor someone who may be younger, who may be less fortunate, who may--who may have things to learn from you?

'So I want to encourage all of you to take the President's call to heart, to look at what you can give back.

'I think that as we look at what happened after September 11th, we not only saw probably the greatest tragedy ever to happen in our country, but as a result, we've seen the best in America come out.

'We saw tragedy, but we've seen togetherness. Americans young and old have shown in very, very large numbers the meaning of freedom and the strength of our nation.

"So all of you that are here today are examples of that spirit. I applaud all of you, particularly those of you who have your whole lives before you and have so much to offer for the future. It's a great country, and I know you are all looking forward to having a great future in this country.

"Thank you all very much for having me, and I will be glad to answer questions, hear your comments, and generally see what you have to say and offer to me today, because I'm here to listen as much as I am here to talk. Thank you very much.


MR.Moser: Secretary Veneman, thank you very much.

"We've got time for questions, and I hope you have the questions. Let me start over here first. I'll take a question from this side first.

QUESTION: Yes, the President talked about getting fast-track authority. When do you think that's going to happen? And what impact is it going to have--[inaudible] you know [inaudible] agriculture?

SECRETARY VENEMAN: "Very good question. He called for the Congress to quickly pass what we're now calling trade promotion authority, which would give us the ability to enter into new trade agreements and then have the Congress pass them up or down.

"This is important authority because it does give our negotiators credibility at the negotiating table, and I think sometimes people forget how important international trade is to our food system here.

'We export by value about 25 percent of what we produce in this country. But when you look at some of the commodities, like wheat, we export 50 percent of our wheat. Some of our fastest-growing exports are things like processed products, higher-value crops, fruits, vegetables, processed products, meats.

"So, again, the opportunities for our farmers and ranchers really depend on the global marketplace. Ninety-six percent of the world's population lives outside the United States. That tells us where we have to go for our markets, because we in this country can't eat much more.


"Let me just--I really didn't answer his question. I just want to say the trade promotion authority did pass through the House of Representatives just at the end of last year, and then the Senate committee passed it actually by a very bipartisan margin, and we are hopeful that the Senate will quickly take up as a whole trade promotion authority and pass it as soon as possible. We believe it will give us more credibility at the negotiating table as we negotiate a new WTO agreement, which we launched in Doha in November, and, you know, as we move forward on new trade agreements with the Free Trade Area of the Americas and other bilateral agreements.

Thank you.

MR. Moser: In the back?

QUESTION: "One element of [inaudible] future is sustainability, and I wonder if--you didn't address sustainable issues at all, if you might say a word about new organics, stopping subsidies to heavily petrochemical industries, that sort of thing.

SECRETARY VENEMAN: "Well, I think that, you know, as I indicated--I've got the microphone off so I can walk around now. As I indicated before, one of the things that we are seeing is some of the new technologies or some of the programs we've been administering, like the boll weevil eradication program, the tremendous environmental benefits we're seeing because of the use of less chemicals.

"These same cotton farmers that I met with yesterday in Texas are also using Bt cotton, a product of biotechnology, and the amount of chemical use is declining very rapidly.

"Now, they don't have--they don't have too much of a water quality problem in Texas because it's pretty dry. But in other areas of the country where they're using Bt cotton and they have runoff issues, they're finding that they're getting great increases in water quality as a result of using these new technologies.

'On the organic side, we are seeing an increase in organic production of agricultural products-- a growing segment of agriculture, I think maybe 9 or 10 percent of the market now. And that is growing every year. But we're seeing also the opportunities for more and more niche kind of markets. Farmers are finding higher and higher value kinds of things to grow, whether it's unique vegetables or other kinds of new crops that are in demand.

'So there are great opportunities with, as you talk about, new ways of farming, new products, and new ways of farming that really enhance the environment.

One of the things that we've talked about in the farm bill and in our book, the book I held up and showed you, food and agriculture policy for a new century. We talk in here about the importance of environmental programs and that we should have environmental programs that help sustain working farmlands, not just environmental programs that take farmland out of production but programs that help farmers manage and enhance their own farmland. Because, as you know, farmers are the best stewards of the land because they need the land for their livelihood.

"And so certainly we ought to continue to find programs that enhance that ability to help use working farmland.

MR. Moser: Okay. A question right here. Just a second until we get the mike to you because we're broadcasting [inaudible].

QUESTION: The family farmer has long been thought of as the backbone of America, and I wonder how you respond to policies, specifically food safety policies, that make it very difficult for the family farmer to compete because it makes it more cost-efficient to be a large-scale factory farmer or to import food rather than to have it from a local farmer, which also ignores the whole issue of food equity [inaudible] if farmers begin to market to a high-scale niche market, it's ignoring the equity issue of healthy, safe, nutritious food because food is a right and not a privilege.

SECRETARY VENEMAN: " We've had a lot of discussion about what is a family farmer, and, you know, there is--there is not a single kind of family farmer today. There are so many different types of families who are involved in agriculture.

"One of the things we talk about in our book is the fact that, although we count just over 2 million farms in this country, over half of those are really what we could call sort of lifestyle farms, people that are farming part-time or because they want that kind of lifestyle. Certainly those are families that are involved in farming, but not doing it as a full-time job.

"There are large family farming operations, there are medium-sized, there are smaller ones, there are part-time. It's very difficult today to say that there's one definition for what is a family farm, just as we also say that it's difficult to have a one-size-fits-all public policy for agriculture, because it is so diverse. There's diverse cropping patterns, diverse--in California we grow 350 different crops and commodities. Well, that's pretty diverse. And I know here in Ohio you have a great diversity of products as well.

"So it's difficult to say there's one answer, there's one solution. But one of the things we're seeing is because there's opportunities for niches, for direct marketing, there's more farmers' markets. There's more direct selling to-the specialty supermarkets or restaurants. We're actually seeing increases in some areas in the number of farmers who are getting involved in small-acreage, niche farming.

"So I think that it's very difficult to simply say that there's just one kind of definition of a family farm today or one way we've got to deal with agriculture policy for the future, because there is such a great diversity, and that's part of the strength of our food and agriculture system.


QUESTION: I read in the New York Times science section earlier this week about logging in the Bitterroot National Forest after the wildfires of the summer of 2000, and how if the Forest Service is logging many of the burned trees, you know, for use, while many scientists and academia are saying that it's actually better for the natural process of forest recovery it happened and Log News actually--they've done studies that it's more detrimental to the overall forest recovery.

So my question is: What kind of relationship is there between the policy of the Forest Service and then scientific research in academia, what kind of relationship goes on there?

SECRETARY VENEMAN: "Well, science is a very, very big part of everything we do, in terms of public policy, and particularly in agriculture-- whether it's the Forest Service or it's food safety issues or it's pest and disease or it's production. Science is a strong basis.

"Now there are scientists who disagree with how you manage forests. Some would say let it be, don't actively manage. Others, including many very strong environmental groups are saying it's good to actively manage a forest, it cuts down on the amount of very serious wild fires, and that's a balance in science that our people in the Forest Service have to really weigh as they make decisions.

"I think that we have a very strong team in the Forest Service. We have a new chief who's been on board just under a year now who really has a very strong belief in the balance that the forest creates. Our forests are a tremendous asset in this country and they are multiple-use public lands. They provide recreation. They provide habitat for wildlife. They provide logging. They provide a variety of activities, and I believe our Forest Service has been a tremendous caretaker of those lands and tremendous at finding the appropriate balance for taking care of those lands.

QUESTION: Secretary Veneman, can you tell us how you stand on the community food security programs that are administered by the USDA and what sort of support we can expect to see for those programs in your upcoming budget.

SECRETARY VENEMAN: "Our feeding programs, and I see our Acting Administrator of Food and Nutrition, George Braley, is here, and hopefully can answer specific questions afterwards if you've got them.

"Many people don't know that the USDA has such a diverse mission. In addition to all of the things we do more related to production agriculture and having the Forest Service and, of course, Smokey Bear, we administer the food and nutrition programs, including the Food Stamp Program, the Women, Infants, and Children Program, the School Lunch and School Breakfast Program, to really give to those who are in need of special assistance in the food area.

"One of the things that we announced earlier, that will be part of the President's budget, is an increase in the WIC Program-- a program that's shown good, solid results in terms of helping pregnant and lactating mothers and small children get the nutritional needs that are so important, particularly in young lives. And so the President does recognize the significance and the role of that program, and he has proposed quite a big increase in that program.

"In addition, the Food Stamp Program is continually funded based upon the number of recipients who are in need because it's what we call in our mandatory side of the funding. So we continue to anticipate what will be needed and then fund the necessary amounts for that program to continue, as needed.

"One of the other initiatives that the President proposed, as part of this budget, is allowing legal immigrants to get food stamps after they've been in the country after 5 years. As you know, as part of the Welfare Reform Act, I believe it was in '96, all legal immigrants were taken off eligibility for food stamps. So the President has restored that eligibility after a 5-year period.


[Off microphone.] [Inaudible.]

SECRETARY VENEMAN: "We had the opportunity, when we were in California, to visit some of these community gardens where our extension service worked in urban communities to really create urban gardening programs, and it's quite remarkable.

"I was Deputy Secretary at the USDA during the time of the L.A. riots, which many of you in this room may not remember. As part of the recovery efforts, our Extension Service started some community gardening programs that were really quite successful to bring communities together in the aftermath of those riots. It was really quite a fun project to watch the progression of.. Some of those gardens still exist in L.A. and in urban communities and housing projects.

"We also saw a great example in San Francisco, at one point, by an organization called SLUG, San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners, in housing projects. These are wonderful programs and examples of where extension from our USDA ag school cooperation actually reaches out into the urban communities, much like your students are doing here with your activities with ag in the classroom.

"It's very important, as I was talking with some of the students, that we all, all of us who are involved in agriculture, help to educate the millions of people who have no idea where their food comes from. They think that milk comes out of a carton. We know that there is a tremendous education process to be done. So many of these programs can really help with that as well.

QUESTION: We kind of touched on the idea of sustainable agriculture earlier, and you've also mentioned the idea that we have 96 percent of our market is outside the country. We have current problems, as far as like erosion and nitrogen getting into the water supply and producing a dead area down at the Mississippi delta. If we're looking to expand so much of our production to a new market to a global future, how are we going to address or how are we addressing these problems that are current problems, that have been current problems, so that they don't balloon into even larger problems further down the road?

SECRETARY VENEMAN: 'Well, I think we are addressing a number of theseProblems. As you know, we have the Natural Resource Conservation Service which really helps farmers with environmental compliance on their farms. As I mentioned earlier, some of the new technologies, some of the biotechnologies are creating products that need a lot less chemicals.

"We have programs like the CREP program, which is the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, which takes some certain areas out of production, small areas like buffer zones along waterways to help with water quality. But I believe that we are seeing more and more opportunities where farmers are taking the initiative in areas of water quality, in new ways of dealing with animal waste, for example, lots of new technology in that area, waste-to-energy conversion That's an area I didn't talk about, by the way.

"I don't mean to diverge too much, but we should not forget the tremendous opportunity that the agriculture industry has in other than food and fiber crops, whether it's ethanol or biodiesel or biomass for energy generation or new plastics. When we were out at the John Deere plant with the President the other day, the President of John Deere was telling us how they're making certain parts of the tractors now out of plastics made out of corn, quite a remarkable achievement.

"But I think that as we look to the future, one of the things I see is farmers becoming more and more aware of things they have to do to make sure that water quality is protected, making sure that--I mean, as I said, in this boll weevil project or in Bt cotton, when you have an eradication program or you have a crop that needs less chemical, everybody benefits. The farmer doesn't have to spend so much on inputs, and the environment benefits.

'So I think we need to continue to find these win-win solutions for the future because we will not only help to sustain our agriculture, but we will also benefit the environment.

"Before I close, I would just like to ask all of our future leaders that we have from 4H and FFA to stand up here, just stand up, and I'd like you all to give them a round of applause.


SECRETARY VENEMAN: "We are going from here to meet with the governor and some leaders in agriculture, and we're going to have these young people join us and be part of that meeting. That's part of the initiative that I'm going to be involved in this year, as we go forward and try and bring young people in to understanding more about what we do.

"So we're delighted that they've all joined us today, and I'm particularly delighted at the wonderful turnout we've had here. I can't tell you how much we appreciate having the opportunity to come here to Ohio State. We set this up on really relatively short notice, and I must say, Bobby, that it's been a great pleasure meeting with your students, and we really, really appreciate the opportunity, and thank you so very much.

MR. Moser: Thank you for coming.


MR. Moser: Secretary Veneman, we have something we would like to give to you before we close off here. This is an illustration of a concept that we have adopted in our college, the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Quickly, let me explain this to you. It has a pyramid shape. It has four walls. On one wall there's production efficiency, on one wall it's economic viability, on the third wall is environmentally compatible, and on the fourth wall, socially responsible.

SECRETARY VENEMAN: "That's great."

MR.Moser: And we chose the pyramid shape because we think that where this pyramid gets its strength is when these four walls come together at the top. So, if you use this to describe this pyramid or the food system when all four walls are standing firm, and in balance, and attached at the top, you've got a strong structure or, in our case, a strong system. If you eliminate one wall, you weaken the structure or weaken the system. If you eliminate two walls, then the system collapses.

And so we're thinking here in Ohio that if we keep all four of these walls strong, and we ask ourselves four questions: Is it production efficient? Is it economical? is it profitable? What does it do to the environment, if anything? Will the consuming public accept that technology? And we have a globe inside of there because we can't just think about Ohio any more, as you know. We've got to think about the world.

So we want to present this to you as a token of our appreciation for you being at Ohio State University.

[ Applause.]