Husted talks business, education, technology in three-stop visit

·3 min read

Aug. 11—LIMA — It was an educational visit for Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, as he made three stops in the area Wednesday, learning about new educational opportunities, business technologies and agribusiness concerns.

First, Husted stopped at Rhodes State College to learn a bit more about the agriculture-related technology programs that will be starting on Aug. 22. The second stop was in Delphos to see some new agriculture-related technology at Hydrofresh. The final stop was at Cooper Farms north of Van Wert, where he listened to members of the agribusiness community share some thoughts on current and future trends.

At Rhodes State, Husted was introduced to the new agribusiness programs that are being offered by the college for the first time, with 22 students signed up for the classes in the fall.

"The technology creates the productivity and the opportunities for science to be integrated into agricultural practices, in food processing practices in ways that can drive down costs, getting food to the consumers in an affordable price and also do it in a very environmentally sustainable way," Husted said. "What we're trying to do in this state is integrate innovation, talent to our core industries, of which agriculture is one, and elevate quality of life for everybody."

The message shared was that the farmer of the future must be able to use technology, analyzing data to farm more efficiently. There will need to be technicians that maintain the equipment and data experts to interpret the data for the farmer which will greatly increase agriculture workforce.

"When I was born there was over six percent of us that were involved in agriculture," Duane Stateler, owner of McComb-based Stateler Family Farms, said at Rhodes State. "Today that is less than one percent. Our only way forward to keep up with everything is going to depend on technology that comes forward."

Husted's second stop was at Hydrofresh in Delphos. It was there that Husted witnessed new technology at work. Hydrofresh uses high-pressure processing. High-pressure pasteurization is a USDA-approved process that uses cold water and water pressure up to 87,000 PSI to eliminate potential pathogens that cause food and beverages to spoil such as E. Coli, Salmonella, and Listeria without the use of chemical preservatives. Unlike heat pasteurization which can destroy nutrients and change the flavor profile of a product, high-pressure pasteurization ensures quality, taste, and texture while extending shelf life.

After the brief tour, Husted next met with members of the agribusiness community at Cooper Farms north of Van Wert. During the meeting, Husted learned that one of the problems facing farmers is a lack of CDL drivers. New regulations affect family farm members 18 to 21 years old who are now limited to where they can drive grain. Husted asked for more information so that he could gather more information about the problem.

There was also a concern about the elimination of fossil fuels in the future as suggested by the Biden administration. Husted commented about future energy concerns and climate change.

"So we're going to have to take a long time and a responsible, reasonable, rational approach to transition to lower carbon forms of energy," he said. "But we can do it. It's going to take time. And it doesn't have to be an adversarial approach. There are many ways we can change the impact we have on the environment for the better without doing it in a way that is devastating to the economics of what is it that we're doing."

Reach Dean Brown at 567-242-0409.