Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack issued a powerful challenge to young people. He told students rural America needed them to help secure a global food supply in the future. "Bright, entrepreneurial, innovative and creative young people educated at places like Fresno State to go back to, to come, to stay in rural communities when the allure of a city or another opportunity might be great."
Ag students said the message was heard loud and clear, giving them practical applications to the lessons learned on campus. Ag Business major Brent Fukushima said, "It really opened up a huge horizon on what to do and how to be a better agriculturalist and what is more important in a sense to focus on and things you can kind of put on the back burner for a little bit."
Food Science major Valeria Kingston added, "I want to do food production, maybe some sort of evaluation as well as microbiological aspect to prevent illnesses."
After his speech, Vilsack told Action News the key to getting a new farm bill passed is to focus on its benefits. "In addition to the food aspect of the farm bill, in addition to the subsidy and safety net aspects of the farm bill which are really important, it's also a jobs bill at a time when we're looking and need jobs."
Vilsack talked of the importance of comprehensive immigration reform but added young people have the energy and passion to meet every challenge faced by the ag industry. He told the students, "Rural America needs you. America needs you."