News Article – 

2019 was a whirlwind year for us at the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA). We engaged with 20 new NASDA members, saw initial steps taken to implement the 2018 Farm Bill, USDA sought input from the states on an interim hemp rule, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement was finalized, Congress took the initial steps towards much needed ag labor reform, and the threat and implementation of tariffs waxed and waned largely to the detriment of American famers and ranchers.

But now we turn towards a vision for 2020. Every new year gives our Board of Directors the opportunity to identify the priority issues where we should lead, and where states are most heavily impacted. In 2020 we will be focusing most of our efforts on international trade, workforce development, food safety, and the new kid on the block for 2020, hemp.

2020 will be a landmark year for hemp. Since 2002, NASDA has been an advocate for hemp legalization. The 2018 Farm Bill enabled this, and states are building frameworks and markets that can deliver on the crop’s promised economic prosperity for growers. Before harvest comes and the USDA’s interim rule goes final, however, many questions and details remain to be navigated. NASDA continues to work with USDA to provide a clear pathway for U. S. hemp growers, whether the product is seed, fiber, CBD or other products. With all the attention on CBD, an extract of hemp, it’s imperative that FDA establishes consistent CBD regulations to ensure the crop has a stable market and consumers are safe.

Carrying over priorities from 2019, NASDA will support new free trade agreements while urging Congress to ratify USMCA. We will continue to advocate for full funding to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) while working with the Food and Drug Administration and states to effectively implement FSMA. We remain steadfast in our belief that by investing in people and workforce development systems, we can make the path to agriculture employment straightforward for our producers and a promising choice for workers.

One thing remains certain in 2020. Our members’ diverse perspectives and government leadership roles strengthen our united voice. Afterall, these attributes embolden NASDA to lead achievable, non-partisan solutions to policy issues from farm to fork. We look forward to working to unite all of agriculture in 2020.

Written by Dr. Barb Glenn

Barb has served as the CEO of NASDA since 2014. She has decades-long experience as a scientist, policy researcher, and advocate for agriculture. Born in Lincoln, Nebraska and raised in Centerville, Ohio, Dr. Glenn developed a passion for agriculture from her parents and her involvement in 4-H. She lives on a small farm in Maryland with her husband and three children, and serves on various boards for farm bureau and 4-H.