The nation's top ag official will participate in a “Fireside Chat” with a former central coast congressman as part of a CSU Monterey Bay webinar introducing students to programs and jobs at USDA.

“Your Future in Agriculture: A Conversation with US Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack,” on Oct. 4, is also open to members of the public. Sam Farr, a Democrat who represented California’s central coast in Congress from 1993-2017, will host a conversation with Vilsack about careers in agriculture, including at USDA. Then, a panel discussion featuring the region’s current representative, Jimmy Panetta, will introduce three other USDA officials who will “share some of the specific work of the agency with an emphasis on jobs,” according to a CSUMB statement. Juan Manuel Alvarez of the Office of Partnerships & Public Engagement, Jesus Mendoza, Jr., western region administrator for the Food and Nutrition Service and Spiro Stefanou, administrator of the Economic Research Service, are slated to participate.

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The program offers students and others a chance “to hear from Secretary Vilsack himself and from leaders from USDA on the future of the industry, the challenges ahead and the policies they expect to shape our conversations over the next several years,” the statement said. The Grower Shipper Association Foundation is collaborating with the CSUMB College of Business and College of Science for the event.

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