(Scroll down for a video excerpt of the governor’s speech.)
LONDON, Ohio — Ohio Gov. John Kasich wants a strong agriculture industry in the state. Because that means a strong economy in general.
Speaking Sept. 20 at the Farm Science Review in London, Ohio, Kasich said the Buckeye State is underpinned by an agricultural economy, an ag economy that is a $102 billion industry.
It’s a base of economic growth, and job creation, Kasich added.
“When farmers do well, Ohio does well; when farmers don’t do well, Ohio suffers.”
And it’s an industry that can grow, the governor added, citing examples of food processing, bioproducts and “flying cows to Istanbul,” which is happening now.
“Folks, agriculture is so important,” Kasich said.
He told the crowd attending the annual Vice President’s Luncheon on opening day of the Review that they need to make sure agriculture is “front and center” with the next generation, so they understand the entrepreneurship and common sense needed to succeed in farming.
“We need them in agriculture,” Kasich emphasized.
‘I love farmers.’
Kasich, who grew up in the city, professed his love for agriculture.
“I’ll tell you why I love farmers,” he said. “‘Cause it’s common sense, it’s ‘don’t make excuses,’ it’s getting out in the fields and applying ingenuity and common sense to deal with your problems and fixing things.”
“This is from the heart,” he added. “We need to strengthen agriculture; we need to raise it up.”
Hit the road
The governor also had sharp words for federal mandates or outside interests trying to impose regulations on Ohio agriculture.
“When they come from the outside to try to tell us how to farm, I’ll be the first one to stand up and tell them to hit the road. Because we’re going to run our farms the way we think we should, because we are environmentalists at the same time we are producers,” Kasich said, drawing applause from the crowd of 500-plus.
Video of Gov. Kasich speaking during the 2011 Farm Science Review (story continues below video):
Praise for leaders
The governor heaped praise on Ohio Director of Agriculture Jim Zehringer, Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee, and Ohio State’s Bobby Moser, who recently announced his retirement as vice president of agricultural administration.
Moser, said Kasich, has kept agriculture “in the forefront of everything the university does.
“He’s also taken agriculture into the 21st century,” the governor added.
In his remarks, Gee likewise lauded Moser, recalling the search committee interview when he first met the candidate Moser 20 years ago.
“He blew me away,” Gee said, adding Moser was “the best appointment I ever made.”
Moser, in turn, thanked all the public and private partners, as well as farm and commodity groups he has worked with over the years, a relationship that has been the envy of other universities.
“We could not do it by ourselves.”
Hall of Fame
During the luncheon, the Farm Science Review enshrined three individuals in its hall of fame:
Donna Brown, OSU Extension (retired), who has worked with the Review since the 1980s in the McCormick Building and as a member of its program and policy committee;
David Petriz, director of Extension at Purdue University, who was instrumental in forging an OSU/Purdue partnership at the Review; and
Jack Sommers, 30-year extension educator in Champaign County who has attended every Review since 1966 and has strengthened contemporary programming issues in Extension and the Review.
Total attendance at this year Review hit 133,734, up from last year’s attendance of 124,122.