On April 12, the Virginia Seafood Agriculture and Research Extension Center (VSAREC) hosted Basil Gooden, Virginia’s Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry. Gooden visited the VSAREC, a Virginia Tech satellite research center located in Hampton, Virginia, to learn about the work done there. Mike Schwarz, VSAREC director and aquaculture specialist, delivered a short history of the center, explaining its partnerships with a diverse array of organizations—including Virginia Sea Grant (VASG). VASG Director Troy Hartley further elucidated the partnership between VSAREC and VASG in his own presentation.
VSAREC extension specialists also shared their work with Gooden, including Abigail Villalba, extension specialist in muscle food safety, who discussed how the Center trains “anybody that touches food.” In 2016, Villabla and the VSAREC helped maintain a competent workforce by training 230 individuals who process food in 158 companies.
After listening to the day’s presentations Basil Gooden said, “We want to convey that we fully understand and appreciate what [VSAREC] does for industry, and want to support these important programs.” He concluded his visit with a tour of VSAREC’s facility.