NASDA grows and enhances agriculture by forging partnerships and creating consensus to achieve sound policy outcomes between state departments of agriculture, the federal government and stakeholders.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was a year like no other for every American. NASDA preserved the strong U.S. food supply chain, as the essential food and agriculture sector was amplified and enhanced by NASDA members’ leadership in every state and territory. Creative unique programs and partnerships filled gaps and unmet needs to open markets for farmers and to feed hungry consumers. State departments of agriculture also maintained business continuity, and NASDA responded to a plethora of issues, challenges and opportunities in food and agriculture policy. In 2020, NASDA continued to unify and elevate state department of agriculture voices on the highest profile and most impactful agricultural and food policy issues. NASDA has worked aggressively to increase collaboration with federal agencies and enhance NASDA’s standing partnerships with USDA and FDA. The NASDA Board of Directors established NASDA’s top priorities for the year prior to the pandemic: agricultural workforce development, implementation of trade agreements, promoting food safety through FSMA implementation and advocating for long-term success of the hemp industry. Later in 2020, NASDA exercised a leadership role in rapidly developing issues, confronting the nation on COVID-19 issues, and including concerns related to climate and the infrastructure needs of rural America.
Through our cooperative agreement with USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, NASDA utilized approximately $4 million in Market Access Program and Agricultural Trade Promotion Program funds to help small and medium U.S. food and beverage companies export their products all over the world.
The impact of the Food Safety Modernization Act on agriculture is enormous. As a result, NASDA is heavily engaged with FDA on policy and program issues regarding its implementation. NASDA continues to focus on developing consistent state programs for the implementation of the Produce Safety and Preventive Controls for Animal Food rules. Additional priorities include: the definition of a farm, understandable agricultural water standards, a clear need for parity regarding foreign and domestic food production and adequate funding of FDA and the states to correctly implement these new requirements. NASDA is also continuing to refine the On-Farm Readiness Review program and keeping a focus on the value of continuing education to help farmers prevent foodborne illnesses.