Vilsack continued his list by adding sustainable energy options. Vilsack’s belief in biofuel energy was evidenced earlier this week by approving a $5 million payment to Western Plains Energy, LLC, to support the construction of a biogas anaerobic digester in Oakley, Kan. Livestock waste can help America become energy secure and create job opportunities for many bio and plant based energy operations. “American agriculture has helped the US move away from petroleum based plastics,” Vilsack said. “We have unlimited potential in this country.” Vilsack believes by using more biofuels our country has reduced the cost of gasoline at the pump anywhere from $0.80-$1.30 a gallon.
A student in attendance at Vilsack’s Landon Lecture was Sierra Warren, sophomore in elementary education. “I agreed with the Secretary on many of his points,” Warren said, “but my favorite was when he discussed the importance of agriculture education.”
After the lecture, Vilsack met with reporters and voiced his support for the construction of the National Bio- and Agro-Defense (NBAF) facility in Manhattan near Kansas State University. He said the proposed $650 million research facility was important to ensure the U.S. would continue to have a safe and adequate food supply.
“I understand the importance and significance of getting that done,” Vilsack said. He believes the facility is a national priority that will help identify threats to the multi-billion agriculture industry.
U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan) accompanied Vilsack on his visit to Kansas State and also fielded questions from reporters about NBAF. Roberts, who has championed the construction of NBAF in Kansas, says Vilsack “stands squarely behind this project and has said where there’s a will there’s a way.”
Lisa Henderson is a sophomore in Agricultural Economics and Ag Communications at Kansas State University.