At the Annual Meeting of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) today, state agriculture officials joined Nebraska agribusiness leaders for the Global Leaders Forum on Agriculture and Trade. The forum, co-hosted in Omaha with the AKSARBEN Foundation, featured United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, New Zealand Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy, and Argentina Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Ricardo Negri. NASDA is meeting in Lincoln, Nebraska, September 21-24, to celebrate NASDA’s 100th anniversary under the leadership of Nebraska Director of Agriculture Greg Ibach.
“Expanding export opportunities and ensuring a level international playing field for U.S. producers is vital for the agricultural economy. It is especially important that we cooperate with other food-exporting countries such as New Zealand and Argentina to help open markets around the world and eliminate trade barriers,” said Ibach. “The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as well as other bi-lateral and multi-lateral trade agreements are critical tools for agriculture’s economic success. The United States must be in the driver’s seat, leading the international trade agenda so that our producers can compete in the global food marketplace.”
NASDA members also passed policy during the Rural Development and Financial Security Committee Meeting urging a legal, reliable workforce for farmers and ranchers and emphasized that labor reform is an urgent need for agriculture. The policy amendment was introduced by Ibach.
“The next administration and Congress need to address labor reform as soon as possible. As the H-2A program becomes more and more unworkable, agriculture needs solutions for their labor needs. We look forward to working with Congress and the agencies to eliminate labor backlogs and find a more streamlined approach to expanding a reliable and available agriculture workforce.”
NASDA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit association which represents the elected and appointed commissioners, secretaries, and directors of the departments of agriculture in all fifty states and four U.S. territories. To learn more about NASDA, please visit www.nasda.org.
Photo (L to R): U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Michael Scuse, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Argentina Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Ricardo Negri, New Zealand Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy, and NASDA President and Nebraska Director of Agriculture Greg Ibach