Agriculture Secretary Bullish on Purdue

Posted: Updated:
Perdue visited the culinary job training students at Second Helpings in Indianapolis. Perdue visited the culinary job training students at Second Helpings in Indianapolis.

The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture is touting the work of Purdue University. Sonny Perdue visited the West Lafayette campus Tuesday to meet with President Mitch Daniels, as well as students and faculty. It was one of several stops in Indiana for Perdue, who also visited the National FFA Center and Second Helpings Inc. in Indianapolis.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business Reporter Mary-Rachel Redman, Perdue called the university an "icon of a land grant university."

"It's renowned throughout the world through their nutrition studies and we saw some other types of things with research going on, the cutting edge research there," said Perdue. "What my perception of Purdue University is is they are graduating functional people who can get it done, young people who are skilled in life skills of solving problems and that's what education's really about. Under President Daniels' leadership, the faculty of the schools that I visited with, it's very evident those kids are getting a real education in how to do life."

Perdue praised the work being done at Second Helpings, which collects perishable and overstocked food to create hot meals distributed by more than 90 social services agencies to people in need. The organization also has a culinary job training program that targets disadvantaged adults to prepare them for jobs in the food service industry.

Jennifer Vigran, chief executive officer of Second Helpings, called Perdue's visit a great opportunity to highlight the organization's food rescue, hunger relief and job training efforts.

"I think he was very pleased with the partnership that we have with the Family and Social Services Administration here in Indiana to help our students to build careers and self-sufficiency," said Vigran. "It was great to be able to share with him what we do in going out and rescuing good, nutritious food and how we put that food to good use very quickly in our community."

Perdue also talked about the concerns of farmers not just in Indiana, but throughout the country, as it relates to the nation's trade issues with China. 

"We'd love to have China as a customer, but they've built their economy on really deceit and theft of intellectual property," said Perdue. "We hope we can get a deal. The president wants a good deal very badly. I think the Chinese want a deal. It's a matter of can we do one that's enforceable over contracts. Farmers are resilient but some of them have been holding on for a long time and this five years of down pricing, it's tough on the farm but I'm hoping if we can get a deal with China, it's going to be really good again."

  • Perspectives

    • Two Time-Sensitive Opportunities for Civic Action this Earth Month

      Hiking through a natural area with a reusable bottle of fresh, clean drinking water is likely an image that you can relate to during springtime in Indiana.  But neither achieving clean drinking water nor having easy access to nature happens spontaneously: It occurs because of decisions we make as families and as citizens.  As we enter the final stretch of Earth Month and the 2019 Indiana General Assembly, we have -- as citizens -- incredible and time-sensitive opportunities...



Company Name:
Confirm Email:
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections


  • Most Popular Stories

    • U.S. Corrugated currently has operations in California, Georgia, Wisconsin, Tennessee, New Jersey and Tijuana.

      Packager Planning $75M Lebanon Plant

      The Lebanon City Council has approved an incentive package for Pennsylvania-based U.S. Corrugated Inc. to bring an operation to the Boone County city. The corrugated packaging producer plans to invest about $75 million in the project, which would include about 140 new jobs. The Boone County Economic Development Corp. says the new positions are expected to pay a more than $20 per hour average wage. A spokesperson for the organization says the seven-year personal property abatement...

    • New Co-op Aims to Create 'Solar Movement'

      A group of Indianapolis residents has formed the first solar cooperative in the city. The Indiana chapter of nonprofit Solar United Neighbors will allow members to purchase and install solar panels using a single installer at a group rate. SUN Indiana Program Director Zach Schalk says the organization is focused on building a solar movement in Indiana by fighting for better solar policies. In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Schalk said he hopes to expand the...

    • Jaylon Smith is on eof this year's honorees. (Photo courtesy of Jaylon Smith)

      Mad Anthonys Names 2019 Red Coat Recipients

      The Fort Wayne-based Mad Anthonys Foundation has named the 2019 Red Coat honorees. The organization presents the Red Coat each year to individuals who have made a positive impact to the Fort Wayne region and the state of Indiana. 

    • Photo of Gary City Hall courtesy of the City of Gary

      McDermott Details Gary Retail Desert

      The city of Gary is facing challenges as it tries to rejuvenate retail business in the city. In an interview with our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana, Aaron McDermott, president of Latitude Commercial Real Estate Services in Schererville, says the challenge is due to the perception, proximity and demographics associated with Gary. 

    • I-65 INDOT construction map

      I-65 Work Beginning Next Week

      Construction work is scheduled to start next week on I-65 near downtown Indianapolis. Indiana Department of Transportation crews will begin to clean up the interstates after two years of freeze/thaw cycles. Crews will be working in segments, including patching and repaving work. INDOT crews will begin work on northbound and southbound in segments, beginning on weekend nights from April 26 through August.