The first person who will tell you the mayor of New York City knows little about agricultural policy is the former mayor of the city Rudy Giuliani.

However, the grandson of an Italian immigrant who valiantly led the nation’s largest city from the devastation back to prosperity and hope after 9/11 was given a rousing welcome to the heart of American agriculture when he addressed the opening day crowd at the 40th annual World Ag Expo in Tulare, Calif. yesterday.

He promised to learn about federal agricultural policy during a Presidential campaign he all but announced he was entering.

“Yes, I am,” he proclaimed to huge applause when asked if he was running for President.

If Tulare County had its way, the election would have ended yesterday with the former crime fighter and former mayor of the nation’s largest city headed to the White House.

He admitted no deep knowledge of agriculture, but “I know how much we depend on you to feed us and take care of us.”

He struck a responsive cord from his audience when he said America should not make the same mistake with its food supply as it did 30 years ago with its energy supply.

“We need to learn from our mistakes of the past and not let what happened to our energy supply happen to something as vital as food,” he said.

“I understand how important you are to America. You have someone who is very much your friend. I cannot tell you how much I respect you,” Giuliani.

American farmers are the most productive in the world, he said, and can compete with anyone when there is a level playing field in world trade.

Giuliani also spoke briefly about the war on terrorism, noting that the United States is not a militaristic state and that would rather do business than fight a war. “We’re at war with them because they are at war with us,” he said. “War is over when they stop developing plots and plans to kill us. I hope and pray we are successful in Iraq, but no matter what happens, as long as it is the desire of terrorists to kill us, we have to remain on the offensive.”

World Ag Expo continues through Thursday at the International Agri-Center.

email: hcline@farmpress.com