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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


USDA Secretary Vilsack: 'Agriculture is Cool Again'

September 12, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio’s number one industry and economic driver is again attracting the attention of young, talented people interested in a career in food and resource production and related sciences, according to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

“Agriculture is cool again,” said Tom Vilsack, secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, during his September 9 visit to The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “It’s been a while since we could say that about agriculture in this country, but we can say it now, because it is providing so much opportunity for innovation.”

Vilsack toured laboratory facilities in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering less than 24 hours after President Obama unveiled his plans to spur job creation across the country. The Secretary acknowledged work done at Ohio State to stimulate innovation and create jobs throughout the state.

The college is home to the Ohio Bioproducts Innovation Center (OBIC), a research initiative that integrates academia and industry to develop renewable specialty chemicals, polymers/plastics and advanced materials.

“When the President talks about out-educating, out-building and out-innovating the rest of the world, he’s talking about this center,” Vilsack said of his tour. “Clearly dependent on bright young people and the faculty here at Ohio State working with entrepreneurs, inventors, and innovators to create new substances and find new ways to use agricultural products to make America more self-reliant.”

Efforts like those of OBIC mean more opportunities for Ohio farmers and agribusiness professionals. According to independent research conducted by Battelle, research done in the college, through Ohio State University Extension, and at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), generates more than $1 billion of annual economic impact and cost savings to Ohio and the U.S.

“That’s what a Land-Grant university is all about,” said Bobby Moser, vice president for agricultural administration and dean of the college. “Doing quality research, getting it out through Extension to the people, learning what problems are out there and bringing them back to the research operation. At the same time you take the research into the classroom and teach those students what it’s all about.”

To learn more about Ohio State’s impacts on Ohio’s economy through food, agriculture and the environment, visit Growing Ohio’s Economy.

To see more of Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s visit to the Ohio State, visit the college YouTube channel.

You can read more about the Battelle Study here and here.


Andy Vance
Tom Vilsack, Bobby Moser