WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue’s third “Back to Our Roots” RV tour next week will include stops in three Ohio counties.
On Wednesday, April 4, Perdue will visit locations in Allen and Mercer counties and on Thursday, April 5, he will be in Greene County, the U.S. Department Agriculture announced Wednesday.
During the RV tour, which includes stops next week in Michigan and Kentucky, Perdue is expected to hear ideas and concerns from local farmers, agriculture students and researchers, business owners, community leaders and USDA employees. He will be joined by Linda McMahon, the head of the Small Business Administration, for part of the tour, which runs from Tuesday to Friday.
Central State University in Greene County is one of the stops Thursday, April 5.
“It is remarkable that for the second time in four years, a U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary has been to CSU,” said Dr. Clarence Bunch, associate director of Extension at Central State.
“Secretary Tom Vilsack was here in (October) 2014 when Central State received the historic 1890 Land-Grant University designation,” said Bunch. This designation led to CSU Extension’s creation.
“I’m excited about the visit next week,” he said Thursday. Bunch said that during the visit Perdue hopes to learn more about the university and the CSU Extension program. “But he especially wants to share and have a dialogue with the students. He wants to talk with the agriculture students about agriculture and the future of agriculture.”
Bunch said the leadership of CSU President Dr. Cynthia Jackson-Hammond led to the interest in the program and visits by the two Secretaries of Agriculture. He added that the CSU Extension-sponsored Minority, Women and Small Farmers’ Conference will be held on the campus the next two days after Perdue’s visit, April 6-7.
According to the announcement, here are the events scheduled for Wednesday:
Perdue and McMahon will tour Amherst Greenhouse, 10 a.m., 644 County Road 126, Harrod.
After this tour, Perdue will take part in a working lunch and conversation with McMahon, the Lima Chamber of Commerce and Ohio Farm Bureau. This town hall event starts at 11:30 a.m., at the City Club, 144 S. Main St., 3rd Floor, Lima.
Perdue and McMahon then will tour Celina Tent in Celina, Mercer County to see its manufacturing facilities and the tents made for disaster relief. This event is scheduled for 1:45 p.m.
On Thursday, April 5, at 8 a.m., Perdue will visit the Miami Township Fire-Rescue facility, 225 Corry St., Yellow Springs, in Greene County and meet with township officials and first responders. USDA’s Office of Rural Development is assisting the construction of this 17,000-square-foot building to house the Miami Township Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department.
Perdue will then visit Central State University, where he will take a guided tour of the university’s College of Engineering, Science, Technology, and Agriculture and participate in a roundtable discussion with CSU agriculture students.
This event is scheduled for 9 a.m. at CSU, 1400 Brush Row Road, Wilberforce.
“As always, our ‘Back to our Roots’ RV tour is an opportunity to get out of Washington, D.C. to hear directly from the American people in the agriculture community,” Perdue said. “While Congress continues its work on the Farm Bill, rural prosperity and many other agriculture priorities, USDA stands ready to assist in any way possible and to be a voice for America’s farmers, ranchers, producers and foresters.”
Perdue was appointed Agriculture Secretary by President Donald Trump in January 2017.
Gary Brock can be reached at [email protected] Rural Life is a companion publication to the Urbana Daily Citizen.