This week's NASDA member spotlight is Delaware Department of Agriculture Secretary Michael Scuse. Secretary Scuse was reappointed to his position in January 2017.
How do you start your day?
Every morning I come downstairs, make a fresh pot of coffee, turn on the news and make breakfast for my lovely wife, Patrice, and myself. Then, I head outside to feed my yellow lab Rex before getting ready to head off to work.
What is the most important function of your department?
We make it a priority to work with the entire agricultural community to make sure that they are not overburdened with regulations. We want to help them to remain profitable and ensure that agriculture remains Delaware’s number one industry.
Why is the Farm Bill important to Delaware?
The Farm Bill is important to Delaware for a lot of reasons. Specialty Crop Block funding is important for our fruit and vegetable producers in the state of Delaware. We have been able to do a great deal of research to help producers, expand markets and increase the sustainability of our family farms. Programs that come under the Farm Service Agency, such as PLC and ARC are important to our grain farmers to mitigate risk. In addition, the conservation programs benefit the entire state by improving our water quality and creating wildlife habitat. These programs have also helped Delaware in preserving and protecting agricultural lands.
What is the most rapidly expanding sector of agriculture or commodity in your state?
We have seen an increase in smaller producers recently. Delaware farmers have also increased their acreage devoted to barley production for malting.
In seven words or less, what is some advice you would offer your fellow agriculturalists?
Keep a positive attitude in tough times!