KRVN Interview for March 14, 2015

Listen in on my recent interview with KRVN, discussing the Nebraska Hall of Ag Achievement Banquet that was held on Thursday - http://real.unl.edu/podcast/IANR_Radio/ianr031415.mp3

 

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KRVN Interview for March 7, 2015

Listen in on my recent interview with KRVN, discussing the upcoming Heuermann Lecture - http://real.unl.edu/podcast/IANR_Radio/ianr030715.mp3

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KRVN Interview for February 28, 2015

Listen in on my recent interview with KRVN, discussing the budget request we have before this year’s unicameral for the Rural Futures Institute -

http://real.unl.edu/podcast/IANR_Radio/ianr022815.mp3

 

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KRVN Interview for February 21, 2015

Listen in on my recent interview with KRVN, discussing the budget request we have before this year’s unicameral for Innovation Campus - http://real.unl.edu/podcast/IANR_Radio/ianr022115.mp3

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KRVN Interview for February 14, 2015

Listen in on my recent interview with KRVN, discussing the budget request we have before this year’s unicameral for the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA) - http://real.unl.edu/podcast/IANR_Radio/ianr021415.mp3

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Discussing Issues of Importance

Recently there has been some attention on campus around a program called “Meatless Mondays” due to a request that came before ASUN late in the fall semester.  The request was for modest funding from ASUN to print and place table tents in the UNL dining halls drawing attention to “Meatless Mondays” and encouraging the lowering of meat consumption in order to improve planetary health.    The issue was debated in ASUN with a large number of students asking for it to not be passed, many from CASNR, as well as non-CASNR majors from agricultural backgrounds across campus.

This issue has received a fair amount of media attention nationally since December, particularly because of the Collegiate Farm Bureau members who organized the grass roots effort to speak out in opposition to the request at ASUN.

Recently, the Omaha World Herald published a story on this issue, evaluating the contrast in views of students studying in CASNR.  I was also quoted in the story from an interview I gave with Kate Howard about the issue.  In that discussion I pointed out to Kate that I understood why an overwhelming majority of students were opposed to the measure as it was using student fees to what in effect would be advertising and advocacy for the “Meatless Mondays” campaign.  Not only is this directly opposed to the livelihoods of many Nebraskans, students and their families, it is also based on incomplete, inaccurate, and misleading data that draws the conclusion that we should reduce meat consumption when data we have presently cannot support such a broad-sweeping conclusion.

As a University, we should absolutely be discussing and debating issues of importance in the world around us.  At the current time, there are a number of what are becoming increasingly contentious issues that seem to be finding their home centered on our food system.  While not a complete list, these include meat consumption and production systems, technology use in modern and efficient food production systems, and desire to develop policy that will force change in agricultural systems in the US to different crop commodities and production methods.  Various NGO advocacy groups, some who are gaining powerful political influence from public fund raising and support of legislators, are fiercely advocating for change based on incomplete or inaccurate data, misrepresentation of truth, and veiled agendas.  A recent article in the New York Times is the latest example of this approach where a significant misrepresentation of important, valuable and highly impactful long-term federal animal science research has been portrayed to an unknowing public as “fact” when it is actually “opinion”.

It is the place of the “University” to represent the truth in known facts and their applications based in science and interpretation of that science.  The “Meatless Mondays” issue falls in to that category.

Given the attention that many of these issues are receiving, in the coming year we plan to address them in a debate format through the Heuermann Lectures program in IANR following the highly effective and informative format of the Intelligence Squared debates hosted in the Kauffman Center in New York.  In the first one of the season, we will address the base question presented in the “Meatless Mondays” regarding the meat industries and planetary health.  This is an important question of our day, and I can think of no better way to consider it based on our state of knowledge than a debate with two highly recognized pro- and two highly recognized con- debaters to bring the facts to the stage.  We will host four of these kinds of debates through the coming academic year around equally compelling and timely questions surrounding the food system.

Stay tuned, it should be an interesting and informative year in the Heuermann Lectures ahead!

Seeking understanding, knowledge, and especially truth.

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KRVN Interview of February 7, 2015

Listen in on my recent interview with KRVN, discussing the movement of our UNL Food Science and Technology Department to Nebraska Innovation Campus this summer - http://real.unl.edu/podcast/IANR_Radio/ianr020715.mp3

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Supportive Leadership for IANR to 2025

As you all know, we have been aggressively pursuing the course of the IANR to 2025 agenda over these past four years.  The vision we have “to be the leading public university in the world in sustainably “feeding the future” . . . through advancing food, energy, natural resources and rural landscape security” is bold, important, and on target.  We are clearly in the right place, at the right time, to make it happen as we work to meet the local and global needs ahead.

I was very pleased to be asked by the University of Nebraska board of regents to report to them on our progress in the IANR to 2025 plan at their most recent meeting on January 30.  You can listen to the audio of the presentation here:  http://real.unl.edu/podcast/IANR_Radio/RonnieGreen-BoardofRegents.mp3

It was exciting and exhilarating to describe to them the huge progress we have made in these past four years in student enrollment and success, faculty expansion and growth, research growth and productivity, leadership through development of Nebraska Innovation Campus, and expansion and diversification of our funding streams leading to our present day $220M annual budget.  I also had the chance to discuss with them our plans for endowed chair and professorship growth across IANR as well as the over $240M of capital construction projects we have completed since 2013, or are in process of building at the present time.

Repeatedly throughout the presentation, members of the board stopped me to insert their support and encouragement for how we are advancing, including asking how they could help further to move us to the ultimate goals of IANR to 2025.  In particular, outgoing board chair Howard Hawks asked at the end of the presentation, responding to the slide I have shared with our faculty and staff previously relating to the next six years (out to 2020) having us currently at a significant “inflection point”, for me to give the board guidance on specific things they can do to assure we stay on the steep trajectory we are now on moving forward.  I could not ask for a greater statement of support and confidence from our governing board – they get it, they believe in our mission and its focal importance for Nebraska and the University!

Following the presentation, incoming NU President Hank Bounds addressed the board as he had been in town for the week with his family and meeting with university students and leaders.  He reiterated the same level of strong support, referring to agriculture and natural resources as a focal highest priority that he intends to engage in with me as a full partner to achieve our goal when he arrives later this spring.  In talking with him during the candidacy process and since, I have absolutely no doubt he means it and is committed to being a strong leader.  We are currently planning a six day swing across Nebraska for President Bounds during his first week on the job (April 12-17) that he has asked me to host for him so he can get to know the state, meet as many people as possible, and learn more about the state’s agriculture.  Many of you will be hearing about this soon and I hope you will be able to be involved in some way during the week as we cover as much of the state as possible.

I also have been pleased to hear our new Governor Ricketts repeatedly reference the same in his public comments, in his recent state of the state address to the legislature, and to me privately.  He gets it as well and is committed to our mission.  In his first month in office he has spent considerable time with us, including working with life sciences leadership through BioNebraska as well as coming to east campus last week to spend an evening with the Engler scholars!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have said over and over again these past four years how wonderful it is to be in Nebraska where agriculture, food, natural resources and people are of the highest priority, AND, where the leadership of this great University and state gets why that is the case.  Right place, right time, right people, right leadership – it is indeed a wonderful time for IANR and I feel so fortunate to be able to work with all of you as we seek to deliver on our mission.  The final thing I said to the board of regents last Friday was what a privilege it is every day to work with and for the faculty, staff and students of IANR – and I meant it.

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KRVN Interview for January 31, 2015

Check out my recent interview on KRVN discussing the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication – http://real.unl.edu/podcast/IANR_Radio/ianr013115.mp3

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KRVN Interview – January 24

Check out the most recent KRVN interview focusing on an $11.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, creating the Nebraska Center for the Prevention of Obesity Diseases, headquartered in Leverton Hall on the UNL East Campus.

http://real.unl.edu/podcast/IANR_Radio/ianr012415.mp3

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