U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue returned to his home state to address Georgians about the latest news in agriculture during Fort Valley State University’s 37th annual Ham and Egg Legislative Breakfast on April 5.
The Bonaire native addressed a crowd of more than 250 guests at the C.W. Pettigrew Farm and Community Life Center on FVSU’s campus.
Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.) presided over the breakfast that featured presentations from representatives of Georgia’s state Legislature, the Georgia Department of Agriculture and FVSU’s College of Agriculture.
Secretary Perdue said he considers the Fort Valley area and FVSU home territory. “I’m glad to be at my 1890 school, Fort Valley State University,” Perdue said.
During his keynote address, Perdue shared information about internships from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the 2018 Farm Bill. “Thankfully in the Farm Bill this year, we were able to get a transition from an internship into actual employment at the USDA,” Perdue said. He said many jobs are being posted on the USDA job site, and he hopes counselors will steer students towards these opportunities.
Furthermore, Secretary Perdue said he sees a bright future for young people looking to start a career in agriculture.
“I think we’re on the cusp of a fourth Industrial Revolution when it comes to soil health,” Perdue said. “You’re going to see the growth in agricultural research and the growth of jobs,” he said. Perdue said food is on the edge of being designed for healthy living to become non-allergenic, helping to control diseases such as diabetes. “That’s the potential we see out here. It’s as broad as the mind can be,” he said.
Fort Valley State University faculty and staff pose with elected officials during the 37th annual Ham and Egg Legislative Breakfast.
In addition, Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) who also spoke at the event, said that achieving the funding of scholarships with the help of Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.) is a big asset for 1890 Land- Grant Universities.
Georgia’s junior senator also said administrators at the 19 1890 Land-Grant Universities can rely on those scholarships to attract students to their schools and help them get started in agricultural communities.
FVSU President Dr. Paul Jones, said the conversation at the breakfast was a great example of how to problem solve in our country. “I think you heard some very positive things here and it’s an opportunity for us to strengthen some historically good relationships. With our relationships with former governor and now Secretary Perdue, along with Sen. Perdue and others, the more we have an opportunity to network and talk about our issues and opportunities, the better we’ll be.”
For more information about future programs hosted by FVSU’s Cooperative Extension Program, call (478) 825-6296