State Department of Agriculture Secretary George Greig met with FFA advisers and students during an Education and Business Lunch held at the Somerset County Technology Center in late April.
He talked to 25 FFA students from Meyersdale, Somerset, Tech Center and Turkeyfoot Valley during an informal morning session, while he addressed a larger group of students and business professionals at lunchtime in the school's cafeteria.
"You have the advantage here in Somerset County because people aren't that removed from the farm as they are in other metropolitan areas. In some cities, children are three generations or more removed from the farm but here you know where your food comes from. Now, it's up to you to tell the story of agriculture," said Greig to the students in the morning session.
In his role as ag secretary, he leads the Department of Agriculture, which encourages, protects and promotes agriculture and related industries throughout the Commonwealth while providing consumer protection services that impact the health and financial security of Pennsylvania citizens.
He told the students that being the ag secretary is a 24 hours a day, seven days a week job. By his first anniversary as secretary on Feb. 1 of this year, he already logged 48,561 miles and there was a time last year when a flood occurred in Susquehanna County that he spent seven weeks straight away from his family.
Greig was raised on a dairy and crop farm in Linesville, Crawford County, where he continues to grow and market corn and hay for feed and soybeans for biofuel in partnership with his brother. He and his brother also operate Dogwood Valley Recreation Center in Wadestown, W.Va. Greig still resides on the 650-acre family farm in Crawford County, with his wife, Christine. They have six children and three grandchildren.
When asked how he viewed the future of agricultural education, he concluded by saying:
"We have a heritage and history here in Pennsylvania and some of the best farmland in the U.S. We have the perfect opportunity for growth and live near 80 percent of the population of the nation. We have location and the population and now we need to capitalize on that. We have preserved the farmland in Pennsylvania for future generations so now we need young people to work hard and apply the technology at hand."
Sec. Greig was interviewed by the Daily American and replied to certain questions for the Farm, Field and Garden publication during his day in Somerset. These are his responses: