LEIPSIC — Honorable Tom Vilsack, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, joined Former Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture Bob Boggs to visit the Poet Biorefining in Leipsic on Friday afternoon.
Vilsack was visiting the plant in an unofficial capacity, spending his own personal time visiting various agriculture sites and rural communities in northwest Ohio promoting President Obama’s "economy built to last" policies including promoting wind farms and biofuels.
Vilsack said Ohio is a place known for making things and growing things and is a good example of how Obama’s policies will provide more jobs that support families.
Pointing to a train car on the tour, Vilsack said 100 tons are loaded into this car each day. He said Poet general manager Mike Borer informed him a local worker had developed a more efficient piece of machinery to load the cars. This piece of equipment is now being used at the Poet facilities all over the United States.
“Now some company can build that piece of machinery for distribution and more people are employed," Vilsack said. “This is what we mean when Obama talks about an economy to last.”
When questioned about the importance of also using fossil fuels in addition to biofuels, Vilsack said it is important to use a combination of fuels available in this country.
“Biofuels are not only helping the farmers,” Vilsack said, "but are also helping with the price at the pump. People are seeing a savings because we have renewable fuels.
"The president believes we have to continue to reduce our reliance on foreign oil,” Vilsack said.
Referring to a visit earlier in the day to a wind farm, Vilsack said the president wants to see the production tax credits for wind turbines to continue.
“Romney wants to see this credit expire,” he said. “This would mean jobs would be jeopardized.”
Vilsack also said the president’s educational policies are important to the future economics.
“We need talented, well-educated workers that will be able to operate these plants in the future,” Vilsack said noting that Obama’s budget includes funding for math and science teachers.
Borer said Vilsack is a huge supporter of renewable fuel standards.
“His visit to our plant gives us an opportunity to share how our product is made and how we continue to make advancements in manufacturing biofuels and by-products from the corn,” Borer said. “Since our plant opened in January 2008 we continue to invest in production and efficiencies at this plant.”
Also using her own personal time to travel with Vilsack was Katharine Ferguson, the rural policy director for Sen. Sherrod Brown’s office.