On Thursday, Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue hosted a roundtable discussion around biotechnology at NC State University in Raleigh. While biotech was the topic on the agenda, the discussion quickly evolved into communicating farming and biotech practices to the non-farming public. Ag Secretary Perdue was asked what USDA’s involvement in that should be:
“I think, again, we need to get your constituency, farmers communicating with the public. You know, historically, farmers just want to produce, sit behind their fences and do what they do best, and that’s produce safe, nutritious food for America. But, we’ve got to be able to communicate that, we’re no longer assumed to be the trusted industry that we once were, and people don’t take that for granted. There are many people out there in the internet environment that want to disparage what’s happening on American farms.
“People want to know where their food came from, and we need to communicate the methods we use to produce that food. We wouldn’t produce food that’s unsafe for our families, we’re eating that same food. USDA wants to work with our producers across the country with universities like NC State to communicate the message of a safe, healthy food supply.”
Is USDA thinking about doing something on a national global level, are you thinking about actually doing something from the Beltway to try to communicate these issues to the consuming public?
“That’s one of the needs in modern America. I’m willing to use the wonderful, sacred pulpit of the Secretary of Agriculture to communicate the great story of American agriculture, and food safety and food health across the country. I want to know how we do it with our producers, I’ve encouraged our young people to get involved in this, they actually have a lot more credibility than maybe I would, but I’m willing to use the reputation, my personal reputation and the reputation of the Secretary of Agriculture to communicate to a becoming skeptical world about the food that we are producing and putting on their shelves as safe, wholesome and nutritious.”
Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue at the Hunt Library on the NC State Campus.