Orion Samuelson>LPL Interviews N-Z>LPL Interviews N-Z, Segment 16


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Talks about John Block as Secretary of Agriculture. He was a real farmer, something that hadn't been true of previous secretaries, and helped farmers come through the 1980s. After the grain embargo imposed by Jimmy Carter, American Ag movement stormed Washington and Secretary Bob Bergland had to leave town through the back door. Talks about going to Moscow and witnessing of the signing of the first U.S./Soviet formal agreement for wheat sales. Orion talks about seeing the Kremlin and their policies while with Secretary John Block. Only time Orion was ever intimidated. Was doing a segment for Samuelson Says about how no matter how bad American agriculture policy was, you wouldn't want to be a farmer in Russia. He was afraid of the KGB so he didn't say it there. Went to Scandinavia as part of the American Soybean Association to visit potential markets. His first major trip. Went with Earl Butz on a 30 day trip to the East in 1972 on a trade mission. Flew from Honolulu to Vietnam, then to Bangkok. This was during the Vietnam War so they were diverted and shot at. It was a real eye opener, learning protocol and diplomatic rules. The agriculture was archaic compared to America, farming much smaller land. But very impressive mechanically and very heavily subsidized. Talks about his trip to China in 1978 sent by governor Jim Thompson who wanted to make connections after Nixon opened up trade with China. Took a pig to with them. He spent two weeks in China then. Orion has been to 43 countries over his 50 years, most of them filmed for television. Talks about his 1978 trip to China. Couldn't film it. Talks about the importance of agriculture for China and the possibilities for Illinois farmers.