- Friday at the Wayne County Fair held the privilege of hosting Dave White, who has been the chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and undersecretary of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the past three years.
In his role with NRCS, he oversees programs that protect our environment while preserving our natural resources through voluntary, private lands conservation.
White made a stop at the fair "at the invite of Dave Williams." Interestingly, he said the visit seemed appropriate because "it is the 150th for the Wayne County Fair and for the USDA as well."
Originally from Missouri, White was happy to be back in the county fair spirit. "My mom is 98-years-old and she still has all of her ribbons from canning and quilting."
White discussed some of the pride he felt in the area farmers by noting that "a lot of farmers in Wayne County are dedicated conservationists," which is important in the overall goal of the NRCS.
Keeping agriculture going, while not having negative environmental impacts, is important to White.
"By 2050," he said, "the population is expected to reach 9 billion." The result of this inevitable increase is "food production must increased 60 to 70 percent."
A characteristic of farmers in Wayne County that did not go unnoticed was that farmers here are conscious of conservation.
One of the "great challenges" that agriculture faces, White said, is how to continue "and still have a clean environment." Another is how to begin to meet the food needs of that expected 9 billion population mark.
White also feels "if we prepare for the future, we can ensure agriculture stays healthy" while protecting the current resources.
"We need to make sure those future Americans still enjoy [the resources] that we do today."
White also remarked, while standing in the livestock barn, how "nice it is to see young kids here showing" their animals. "It gives me hope in the next generation."
Williams, a national television personality based in Honesdale, also interviewed White for his show. The interview will air in on RTD-TV and Rural-TV in the future.