– Former Sen. Richard Lugar will visit Purdue University on Nov. 11 to speak at a ceremony in which Purdue’s forestry and natural resources farm will be renamed the Richard G. Lugar Forestry Farm. The renamed farm will stand as recognition of Lugar’s longstanding commitment to science-based advances in forestry, said university President Mitch Daniels. “As in so many areas, Senator Lugar was years ahead of others in promoting forestry research and practical application of new knowledge,” Daniels said. “At schools like Purdue, and on his own family farm, he continues to show his expert leadership in this area that is so vital to our future.”
The 175-acre forestry farm promotes production of improved hardwoods to benefit Indiana’s forest products industry. In addition, students use the farm’s resources for their research, and the farm is the site of numerous Extension programs. It operates primarily under the auspices of Purdue Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center, which Lugar helped to create. The center engages in research, development and technology transfer among industry, university, private, state and federal entities. It advances improvement, restoration and reforestation of central hardwoods such as red oak, walnut and the American chestnut. “Senator Lugar has a passion for trees, a passion for science and a passion for Purdue,” Swihart said. “It is an entirely fitting tribute to have the property that promotes forest science named in his honor.”
Lugar played a prominent role in the development and passage of major forestry and conservation legislation during his tenure as a senator. For many years, he was a leading spokesman for farm policy that balanced the nation’s need for agricultural commodities with the need for improved conservation practices. He has long advocated for scientific discovery in development of alternative energy sources to reduce dependency on oil. He sponsored the Biomass Research and Development Act in 2000, and his speech in 2006 at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., articulated the perils the U.S. faced unless it advanced in its quest for alternative forms of energy. He expanded on those points at the 2006 Lugar-Purdue Summit on Energy Security, which attracted 900 leaders.
Lugar was an original sponsor of the 25×25 resolution, adopted in the 2007 energy bill, that set a goal of obtaining 25 percent of U.S. energy needs from renewable resources by 2025. Lugar since 2009 has encouraged discourse among the next generation of scientists and policymakers by annually hosting the Collegiate Energy Summits in Indiana, including at Purdue in 2012.
A tree farmer himself, Lugar has managed his second-generation Marion County farm that includes 220 acres of hardwood forest and mixed hardwood plantations. Lugar also advanced the issue of global food security on the nation’s foreign policy agenda when he was in the Senate. He was invited to speak at Purdue on the topic because of “his wisdom, intellect and leadership in both domestic and foreign policy,” said Gebisa Ejeta, director of the Purdue Center for Global Food Security and 2009 World Food Prize laureate. “He was among the first to recognize global food security as an agenda for global peace and stability and of its significant importance to U.S. security interests,” Ejeta said.
As president and chairman of the board of The Lugar Center, a nonprofit organization, Lugar is active on the national and international stage in working to develop solutions to global problems that will define the 21st century, including national and global food security.