Perdue tells land grants not to count on USDA money, touts science
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told the heads of the land grant universities on Tuesday that they should not count on money from the Agriculture Department to make up for any cuts to their budgets from state governments.
Perdue told the convention of the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities that university heads should tell their legislatures that “they cannot expect to replace funds that are lost through the local appropriations process.”
When making decisions about grants, USDA will look at the relationship of state to federal spending, Perdue said.
“We want to be partners, but we don’t want to be the senior partners,” he said.
If appropriations from the state legislatures move “one step forward, two steps back,” the legislators and the universities should not expect the federal government to “move forward two steps,” Perdue said.
Perdue also said he was aware that the amount of private money the universities have raised is increasing, and he said “that will continue to be the case.”
Perdue also took the opportunity to praise the universities for their advances in agricultural science and productivity.
But he also said he sees “hypocrisy worldwide” and “scientific protectionism where people don’t like this and don’t like that,” even though scientific advances are needed to feed a growing world population.
On a recent trip to London, Perdue said he learned that “the United Kingdom is known to disparage our food.” The British talk about American chicken being bathed in chlorine, even though other antimicrobial processes are now used, he said.
When he asked the British if their salads were not bathed in chlorine, they “had to hang their heads,” he said. The British also showed no interest in his proposal to discuss rates of food-borne illness, he said.
Everyone in American agriculture needs to be “communicators” of the great accomplishments of American agriculture,” he said.