USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack traveled to Ames Wednesday morning for bilateral meetings with Mexico’s Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development, Victor Manuel Villalobos Arambula.
Vilsack and Villalobos stopped by Iowa State University to tour the Seed Science Center and the Plant Sciences Institute. They also engaged in bilateral discussions while at the university. Vilsack was pleased with the agricultural research being conducted at Iowa State.
“What happens every single day on campuses like Iowa State is truly amazing,” said Vilsack. “This is really phenomenal stuff. It’s the kind of thing that can save lives and save livelihoods. I just really appreciate your dedication.”
Housed in the Seed Science Center, the Seed Laboratory at Iowa State University has provided accurate, professional seed testing services to the seed industry for more than 100 years. Research at the Plant Sciences Institute focuses on ways to understand the effects of genotype and environment on phenotypes sufficiently well that ISU will be able to predict phenotype of a given genotype in a given environment.
Villalobos spoke shortly after the tours concluded.
“I briefly would like to say that I am so impressed about the quality of science that you are developing here,” said Villalobos. “I personally feel confidence that with this kind of research and with these kinds of scientists that we can see the future and the capacity to provide food for the increasing population.”
Iowa State President Dr. Wendy Wintersteen thanked both Vilsack and Villalobos for joining ISU staff to learn more about innovation and technology.
“We want to especially thank Secretary Vilsack,” said Wintersteen. “Some of the projects we heard about today truly can only occur because of funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s programs and their collaboration with other federal agencies.”
Vilsack and Villalobos were scheduled to take part in World Food Prize events in Des Moines on Thursday.