The Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) concluded today a regional meeting focused on agricultural trade, regulation, and environmental policy and featuring national and global agriculture leaders.
Idaho Agriculture Director Celia Gould hosted in Sun Valley, Idaho the annual meeting of the Western Association of State Departments of Agriculture (WASDA), which includes agriculture directors from 15 western states and territories.
Gould was pleased to host a historic meeting with Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Lawrence MacAulay, who addressed the importance of the agricultural trade relationship enjoyed by the U.S. and Canada. Speaking to trade as the engine of shared prosperity between the two countries, Minister MacAulay called the significant trade relationship strong, balanced and beneficial. He noted that two-thirds of states in the U.S. count Canada as their No. 1 trade partner, and spoke to the opportunities in North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations.
“WASDA provides unique opportunities for states to share analysis of issues and propose collaborative solutions, particularly as they relate to challenges with federal policy,” said Gould. “We asked federal leaders from a long list of agencies to join us this week for policy discussions, and we were thrilled that so many were able to join us.”
Leaders from several agencies within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provided agency updates and fielded questions from agriculture directors.
Gould hosted Ken Wagner, Senior Advisor to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, for an important update on EPA. Wagner, who has traveled in the last 120 days to meet with EPA staff in every one of the agency’s ten regions, said significant conversations are taking place within EPA to ensure better communication and collaboration with states. WASDA members called Wagner’s discussions unprecedented in working to achieve the highest level of cooperative federalism.
Gould also hosted Kevin Shea, Administrator of the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, to take questions about a wide range of topics from trade to brucellosis to pest eradication. Shea highlighted the agency’s focus on ensuring farmers and ranchers can be profitable.
The Western Association of State Departments of Agriculture is one of four regional groups of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. WASDA is comprised of directors, commissioners and secretaries from 15 state and territorial members: Idaho, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Guam, Hawaii, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Samoa, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. Presidency of the regional group rotates among members, and each year’s president hosts the organization’s annual meeting in his/her home state.
Photo (L to R): NASDA President & Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture Mike Strain, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Lawrence MacAulay, Utah Commissioner of Agriculture LuAnn Adams, and Coloardo Commissioner of Agriculture Don Brown