10 Agriculture Infrastructure

(Updated September 2016)

Farmers and ranchers depend on reliable infrastructure to deliver their products and expand their operations. Out-of-date, underfunded transportation systems and a lack of available labor hinder agriculture production, while advancing technology encourages growth. NASDA believes in maintaining fairness and equity within the agriculture community through the development of a strong agriculture infrastructure.

10.1 Agriculture Transportation

Agriculture relies heavily on a consistent and dependable transportation system including rivers, rail, and roadways. Farmers and ranchers need the ability to move products and equipment to sustain their normal farm and ranch enterprises. The U.S. transportation as a whole needs drastic upgrades to allow for efficient movement of goods.

  • NASDA believes improvements to the U.S. highway system and bridges are urgently needed. Adequate state and federal funding is needed to maintain these structures.
  • NASDA supports increased weight bearing limits on roads and bridges and the allowance of higher truck weights on federal roads.
  • NASDA believes the U.S. waterway system needs improvements and supports efforts to fund lock and dam maintenance and improvement programs. NASDA urges the Corps to maintain waterways to help ensure a smooth flow of commerce.
  • NASDA believes that Congress and the federal government should substantially increase oversight of railroads, including rates and services, where competition is not present. NASDA supports the expansion of the Surface Transportation Board (STB) authority and measures that allow shippers to seek nonperformance arbitration. Further, NASDA supports the ability of state attorney generals to bring producer or shipper cases to the STB for legal remedies.
  • NASDA urges all railroads to charge reasonable rates and offer fair, consistent and equitable rate spreads, service, and treatment to all shippers. NASDA believes monthly rail shipper survey information should be published.
  • NASDA believes container availability is crucial for access to international markets and surveys of the location and availability of containers are needed.

10.2 Agricultural Workforce

(Updated September 2016)

Farmers and ranchers need a framework that provides for a legal, reliable workforce that supports the industry and treats workers with respect. American agriculture faces a critical shortage of labor that harms annual harvests, animal agriculture production and processing facilities. This damages American competitiveness and overall food security. NASDA supports border control and border security measures in conjunction with meaningful federal, Congressional reform as a means toward a legal and stable workforce.

  • NASDA believes both the current H-2A visa for temporary agriculture workers and the H-2B visa for temporary non-agricultural workers are unworkable.
  • NASDA supports reforms to temporary agriculture worker programs and recommends the following principles:
    • An “at-will” visa where employees do not have contractual commitments and can move between employers as seasons and labor demands change.
    • A contract visa where employees commit to working for an employer for a fixed period of time when stability is preferred between both parties.
  • NASDA supports a process where experienced, but unauthorized, agricultural workers who currently reside in the U.S. can obtain legal status.
  • NASDA supports labor policy that protects employers of non-U.S. citizens when those employers make reasonable efforts to document labor status.

10.3 Weights and Measure - National Measurement System

NASDA recognizes the need for a nationally uniform and effective weights and measures system.  A sound weights and measures system is critical to commerce in the national and international marketplace.  Measurement standards are essential for fair competition, promoting good business practices and protecting consumers. 

  • NASDA recognizes the value of the National Conference of Weights and Measures (NCWM) to promulgate regulations on a consensus basis.
  • NASDA supports increased federal funding for the weights and measures system to help form partnerships and establish programs to strengthen the national measurement system.

10.4 Emerging Technology

Science-based, pragmatic approaches to innovation are essential to maintaining the U.S.’s status as the safest and reliable food supplier in the world. Innovation results in new and better crop and livestock genetics, more efficient and effective cultivation methods and equipment, faster and clearer communication and wider and more profitable commerce.

  • NASDA encourages the federal government foster a favorable regulatory environment for new technologies and supports funding for research and development of agriculture technology.
  • NASDA supports a science-based and calculated approach to use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) technology that allows producers to effectively utilize the technology within their operations.
  • NASDA encourages state and federal UAS policies to recognize the privacy of agriculture producers and private citizens and emphasizes that privacy concerns must be addressed in development and use of new technology.
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