Economist, Author Addresses Agricultural Controversies


Jaci Wagner, Reporter

Many contradictions lie in today’s society between the beliefs of those in the agricultural industry and those of consumers. Distinguished economist and author Jayson Lusk, Ph.D., from Oklahoma State University came to West Texas A&M University to speak to the student body and community about these situations and concerns on Monday.

Mallory Vestal, Ph.D., an assistant professor of agricultural business and economics, invited Lusk to discuss the food and agricultural controversies that agriculturalists have to face. This lecture also provided a chance for people who are eager to know about agriculture to learn new information and concepts.

“I reached out to him to come, and I was very glad because tonight provided our students with a different perspective and a different outlook,” Vestal said. “This gave the students a different point of view than maybe what is typically seen on social media.”

During the lectureship, he highlighted the future of the food industry and where it is heading. Kimberly Cantrell, senior agricultural media and communication major from Texline, said she thought Lusk’s speech was a “really good event.” Cantrell represented the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow as president and supported the agriculture department of WTAMU as an agricultural ambassador.

“I thought Dr. Lusk offered a lot of diverse perspectives and was able to shed new light on the industry,” Cantrell said.

Lusk discussed philosophies about food and what is underlying the food in the agricultural industry. He also focused on the controversies that arise because of the lack of knowledge people have about the origin of food and the lack of connection that society has for the food industry.

“I think that Dr. Lusk came out and addressed the issues that we as future agriculturalists have to face in the industry and be prepared to handle all unique viewpoints,” said Janine Johnson, a senior agricultural education major from Meridian, Idaho. She came to the event to represent Collegiate FFA as the president and to assist as an agricultural ambassador.

Another topic Lusk focused on was the Emerging Food Movement. This movement reflects on non-government organizations and concerns with things such as food labeling.

“Bringing the statistics in to back up what he was saying was really important and really valuable to the people who are here this evening,” Johnson said. “This has also encouraged the communities to learn about the food system. Dr. Lusk also recognized problems that consumers face with the economy.”