Former Ag Secretaries to Mull Farm Bill, Debt Ceiling


Seven former secretaries of agriculture will participate in a roundtable discussion, open to the public, in the next K-State Landon Lecture slated for Oct. 21 from 7 to 9 p.m. at McCain Auditorium.

The current U.S. Farm Bill is in its second extension. This, coupled with other issues that currently affect U.S. agriculture, including but not limited to feeding a growing world population, competing in world export markets, and climate change and biotechnology, created the need for industry experts to talk through potential solutions.

Kansas State University's next Landon Lecture is helping fulfill this need by bringing together seven former U.S. agriculture secretaries, who have served every presidency since the Ronald Reagan administration.

The past U.S secretaries of agriculture who will attend the event include Mike Johanns, Ann Veneman, Dan Glickman, Ed Schafer, Mike Espy, Clayton Yeutter and John Block.

Barry Flinchbaugh, K-State emeritus professor of agricultural economics, helped organize the event, which he said was a long time in the making. It is a very unusual experience having all seven secretaries together, Flinchbaugh said, and the timing of this lecture is important.

“We still don’t have a farm bill,” he said. “And we’re reaching the debt ceiling. It should be very timely, and the wisdom on that stage is going to be unbelievable. It’s obviously going to be bi-partisan, because there will be secretaries from Democrat and Republican administrations.”

Flinchbaugh will moderate the panel. He said he plans to ask each former secretary to make an opening statement and will follow with a few opening questions he has prepared. Those present in the audience can then ask questions from the floor.

“We hope there is a lot of interaction,” Flinchbaugh said. “We won’t lack for issues to talk about, but obviously the farm bill is going to be front and center. These seven people certainly have unique experiences that they can bring to these questions.”

More information about next week’s Landon Lecture, including short biographies for the former secretaries, is available online ( ).

The Alfred M. Landon Lecture Series on Public Issues is one of the most prestigious lecture series in American colleges and universities. Former K-State President James A. McCain started the series in 1966 in honor of Landon, a former Kansas governor and 1936 Republican Party nominee for U.S. president. Visit the Landon Lecture Series website for more information ( ).



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