National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) members, the state commissioners, and the secretaries and directors of agriculture have selected nine issues to serve as the organization’s primary policy focus for 2022. They include the 2023 Farm Bill, animal health, climate resiliency, food safety, the food and production supply chain, infrastructure, international trade, workforce development, and defining “waters of the United States" (WOTUS).
“These issues were chosen for NASDA’s 2022 focus, as the areas state departments of agriculture are uniquely positioned to lead impact and direct policymaking solutions. Most importantly, our members see these issues as priorities we must address to best serve the farmers, ranchers, and communities in their states,” NASDA CEO Ted McKinney said.
Food supply chain issues, animal health, the 2023 Farm Bill, and defining WOTUS are not new issues to NASDA, but the organization is giving heighted attention to these areas in 2022.
McKinney noted the particular importance of finding solutions to supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Food supply chain disruptions compound challenges the industry already faces, and undulating demand and market prices for food and materials have created difficulties for farmers, ranchers, food processors, and consumers alike. NASDA members will continue to use their unique influence across all areas of the food system to advocate for policies and forge partnerships that meet the current and local food supply needs of their states,” McKinney said.
COVID-19 also spotlights the importance of a protecting animal health. State departments of agriculture regulate and oversee animal health programs in the states, while also serving as the first line of defense against animal disease outbreaks.
“An outbreak of a foreign animal disease, like African Swine Fever, could cripple the entire agricultural sector with long-lasting ramifications for the economic viability of U.S. livestock production,” McKinney said. “NASDA is committed to working with intergovernmental agencies and industry stakeholders to foster a collaborative, One Health approach to protecting the health of animals, people, and the environment.”
Carrying over priorities from 2021, NASDA will continue to support the creation of new free trade agreements, the expansion of broadband access, and voluntary and incentive-based climate-smart agricultural programs. NASDA will continue to seek full funding to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) while working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and states to effectively implement FSMA. NASDA also remains steadfast in its belief that by investing in people and workforce development systems, the industry can make the path to agriculture employment straightforward for producers and a promising choice for workers.
NASDA will announce its policy priorities specific to the 2023 Farm Bill in the coming weeks.