Agriculture secretary stresses farm bill’s impact

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was the keynote speaker in November at a symposium on the Future of Midwest Agriculture and Environmental Sustainability, held in the new Hayden-Clark Alumni Center.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack touted the importance of the 2012 Multi-Year Farm Bill as the keynote speaker at a symposium on the Future of Midwest Agriculture and Environmental Sustainability in November. 

“This is more than just a federal farm bill,” Tom Vilsack said. “It’s a jobs bill, it’s an environmental bill, and it’s a conservation bill.”

The former two-term Iowa governor said the legislation should better connect the nation’s farmers with the 98 percent of the U.S. population that doesn’t farm because the bill impacts all Americans.

For example, Vilsack said what farmers do with their land affects the quality of our water. “Eighty-five percent of what we consume in water is impacted by what we do in farming,” he said. 

Vilsack touched on several other facets of the bill: renewable energy, the economy, trade, jobs, and of course, food. Nutrition makes up approximately two-thirds of the farm bill, which includes funds for federal food assistance programs. “Every dollar we invest generates $1.84 in economic activity,” he said. 

“We have the capacity to produce everything in the United States to feed ourselves,” he said. “There are virtually no other countries in the world that can do that.” Food costs only about 7 percent of the average American’s paycheck, compared to 15-20 percent in industrialized nations and up to 50 percent in developing countries. We use our remaining money, he said, to stimulate the economy.

“When you start thinking about this farm bill,” Vilsack said, “you realize that every single American has a stake in this legislation.”

Bradley’s Institute for Principled Leadership in Public Service sponsored the symposium, and Vilsack viewed research projects exhibited by Bradley engineering students as part of his visit. Vilsack is the third Cabinet member to speak at an IPL symposium in two years, following Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Transportation Secretary RAY LaHOOD ’71 HON ’11.

— Adam Bockler ’11

Three Palmes award

For the fourth year in a row, the Foster College of Business Administration has been named a Three Palmes school by Eduniversal. One thousand business schools from 153 nations are evaluated based on their international reputation, which is composed of a school’s accreditation, recognition from non-academic organizations, participation in international academic associations, research, and other criteria. 

Schools are then ranked by the Deans’ Vote, where deans of the 1,000 business schools vote on which schools should be recognized. One to five Palmes are awarded based on the final rankings.

Bradley’s Three Palmes put the Foster College of Business Administration in the same category with Oxford Brookes University, Syracuse University, and Prague International Business School. 

“We are known for our quality, including the recent recognition of our entrepreneurship program,” said Dr. Robert Scott, interim dean of the College. “We’ve been active globally for so many years, and those kinds of activities are what’s made us known among this group.”