Dean Redding to chair national biotech committee on 21st century agriculture

Jun 30, 2011

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has appointed Russell Redding, Delaware Valley College’s dean of agriculture and environmental sciences, to the recently reactivated Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture.

Dean Redding, Pennsylvania’s former secretary of agriculture, will serve as the group’s chairman.“This advisory committee will come together to continue investigating the challenges of coexistence among different forms of agricultural production,” Vilsack said. “I hope this committee will recommend workable solutions that will enhance the ability of all farmers to grow the crops they want in order to effectively meet the needs of their customers.”

Dean Redding said he was honored by the appointment and welcomed the challenge. “I believe my role as Dean of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at Delaware Valley College, coupled with my production agriculture experience, education and public service as the former Secretary of Agriculture for Pennsylvania, will be beneficial to the Advisory Committee in tackling the issues around the use of biotechnology,” Dean Redding said.  “In each of my roles, I have had the opportunity to see the benefits of biotechnology and teach about its application in our industry and lives.”

He said it is his intention to bring a balanced perspective to the table to help the committee reach recommendations to better assist the USDA in developing policies for managing the biotechnology issue.

“This will not be easy,” Dean Redding said, “but it is necessary since agriculture is at the intersection of many of our contemporary issues – food production, food security, environment, health and energy.”

The committee, known as AC21, is composed of 22 members from 16 states. The members represent the biotechnology industry, the organic food industry, farming communities, the seed industry, food manufacturers, state government, consumer and community development groups, the medical profession, and academic researchers.

Member affiliations include the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis; the Organic Trade Association in Putney, Vt.; and the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin.