Still in New Orleans; had a great weekend, and a great kickoff to the 89th Annual American Farm Bureau Federation Convention. President Bob Stallman gave his address to the members, Acting Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Conner delivered his continued warnings about the President’s impending veto of the Farm Bill, and retired USDA Chief Economist Keith Collins received the Distinguished Service Award. Meanwhile, Ohio has been represented extremely well in the Young Farmer & Rancher competitions, with Rose Dudgeon of Knox County competing in the Discussion Meet, Andy & Deanna Troutman of Wayne County competing in the YF&R Achievement Award, and Tina Lust of Marion County placing in the Top 10 in the Excellence in Agriculture Award. We’ll learn where exactly Tina places as the winners are announced later today.
A few things I’ve noted in the meanwhile:
Columbus Zoo Keeps Big Snake
The zoo offered “Fluffy’s” breeders $35,000 to keep the world’s largest Python in Columbus. They bit, and she stays.
Wacktivists Put Monks Out of Business
It’s not enough for PETA to attack modern professional agricultural producers, but they’re now in the business of running small operators – even lowly monks – out of farming. Shock of shocks.
Web Based Resumes and Vitae
I’ve mentioned the concept and a skillful execution before, but my dear friend Dr. Emily Rhoades has delivered another example of what I think all upwardly mobile professionals should have.
Paul McKellips on Common Ground
For the last year or so, we’ve been bringing you regular reports from Paul McKellips, embedded in Iraq with the State Department’s Public Affairs Go-Team. Paul, a a then-USDA team member, had been in Iraq covering the work our military and agriculture department are doing to rebuild the Iraqi food production systems and infrastructure. The farmers over there are the backbone of the country as the nation’s second largest industry and employer (behind oil and oil services, as you might expect). Paul’s back home now, and after his inspiring speech at our National Association of Farm Broadcasting’s Annual Convention in November, I had been wondering what Paul would do next. I now know; Paul is helping fight a different type of terrorism, this time at home. Paul’s been named Vice President of the Foundation for Biomedical Research in Washington, DC. FBR, according to their website, is the nation’s oldest and largest organization dedicated to improving human and veterinary health by promoting public understanding and support for humane and responsible animal research. The Foundation, Paul says, is the leading voice of scientific reason and medical progress in the ongoing, sometimes violent debate that surrounds animal research.
One of our first messages from Paul in his new post feels very similar to our last work with Paul in Iraq: he’s producing a weekly commentary for our network about the work being done at FBR to curb animal rights extremists attempting to upset the apple cart of scientific progress in biomedical research. His first “Common Ground” commentary, available for your listening enjoyment, lays out the work he’ll be doing with FBR, and gives some concrete examples of how critical this fight is for our society. Our best wishes to Paul, and our thanks for his continued service to agriculture.