Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE) and Representative Collin Peterson (D-MN) recently received the President's Award from The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST). This honor recognizes those individuals who have furthered the cause of agriculture, science, and technology in a world so dependent on all three disciplines.
CAST Executive VP/CEO Dr. John Bonner and former CAST President Dr. Gale Buchanan presented the awards on March 15 in Washington, D.C., on a day when agriculture took center stage. With Ag Day events occurring at various Capitol Hill locations, CAST honored the two Midwest politicians by giving them impressive medallion plaques designed and crafted by acclaimed artist Jerry Palen. Senator Johanns grew up on a farm and eventually became the 28th Secretary of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture in January 2005. He is the Ranking Member on the Agriculture Committee's Domestic and Foreign Marketing, Inspection, and Plant & Animal Health Subcommittee, and he honored our nation's farmers and ranchers as part of National Agriculture Week in a speech on the Senate floor when he highlighted the hard work of producers across Nebraska and the nation who continue to lead the way in agriculture. Senator Johanns stays in touch with the CAST organization, and he recommended a study of the Convergence of Agriculture and Energy; his suggestion resulted in a series of CAST publications that produced valuable research information.
Representative Peterson also has farming roots, and he has been in Congress since 1990. Currently the Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee, he has been involved in many agriculture bills, and the President's Award is yet another achievement to add to his many accomplishments. His agriculture staff has assisted the National Coalition for Food and Agricultural Research (NC-FAR) with luncheon gathering locations, and CAST has been able to present numerous Issue Papers and Commentaries at these events.
The award winners received original bronze medallions crafted by Jerry Palen, an internationally recognized artist. Every president since Jimmy Carter has used his bronze sculptures as presentations and gifts. In this work for CAST, he "mimics the world and its dependence on the sun, the earth, and water in growing healthy plants and animals." Mankind joins "in synergy with science and technology to create a sustainable world supported by plants and animals."