CAHNRS recently established the “WSU Ag Kitchen Cabinet.” The Cabinet will provide support and advice to the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS) and Washington State University Extension on matters related to food and agriculture research and education programs. Formation of the Ag Kitchen Cabinet represents another attempt to better connect the college to its stakeholders. While CAHNRS has an active advisory council, the breadth of the subject matter and issues facing the college does not permit the council to “drill down” to the level necessary to provide sufficient guidance concerning our food and agriculture programs. The formation of the Ag Kitchen Cabinet will allow us to gain substantive advice concerning future directions of the college’s agricultural research and education programs.
Members of this group are 14 industry professionals representing various sectors of the food and agriculture sector. Cabinet members are charged with the responsibility of contributing their knowledge, vision and experience to better enable the College and WSU Extension to meet their land-grant mission and better serve the agricultural industry of the state of Washington. The purposes of the Ag Kitchen Cabinet are: (1) to advise the college in identifying and developing broad programs and priorities to promote excellence in food and agriculture research and education; (2) to articulate the needs and priorities of the industry to the leadership of WSU’s food and agriculture programs; (3) to communicate information to clientele groups and advocate support for WSU programs; (4) to provide a means for clientele to participate in examining short-term special issues which may face the college and WSU Extension from time to time; and (5) to actively support the college budget with clientele, other appropriate interest groups, and the legislature.
The Ag Kitchen Cabinet will get to work immediately by providing input on some very important topics. First and foremost, the Cabinet will be meeting to provide industry input on the priorities for use of the $6 million of funding provided by the Unified Industry-Based Ag Initiative. The Ag Initiative provides funding for team-based initiatives to address emerging issues in the state’s food and agriculture sector. The Cabinet will also be providing critical input on emerging issues requiring targeted attention from these projects.
And for you history buffs, why the term “kitchen cabinet?” In U.S. history, the name “kitchen cabinet” is a popular name for the group of intimate, unofficial advisers of the President. Early in his administration, President Andrew Jackson abandoned official cabinet meetings and used heads of departments solely to execute their departmental duties, while the policies of his administration were formed in meetings of the Kitchen Cabinet. Allegedly, meetings of the unofficial cabinet occurred in the White House kitchen.