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.

Public Policy
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.

Workforce Development

NASDA engaged with the White House, Congress and industry partners on tackling issues related to immigration and the agricultural workforce. Working with our federal partners, NASDA helped to expedite the processing of H-2A applications and lift in-person interview requirements for both new and returning workers. NASDA continues to work with federal partners to help farmers access stable, reliable and legal labor needed to ensure crops reach grocery store shelves.

International Trade

Effects from the COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainty in the global marketplace are increasingly felt by the U.S. farm economy. U.S. food and agriculture exports are now more critical than ever, and NASDA members are leading efforts to expand market access and promote new science-based trade agreements to benefit rural economies for years to come. In 2020, NASDA successfully advocated for the ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement.

Through the Tri-National Accord, NASDA leverages states’ trading relationships and assures the benefits of new trade deals, like USMCA, are realized. NASDA worked closely with federal partners and colleagues from Mexico and Canada to further develop our multilateral and bilateral trading relationships. NASDA supports efforts to both diversify our export markets and advance the competitiveness of U.S. agriculture. Looking into the new year, NASDA will continue our strategy to promote trade in the fast-growing markets of the Asia-Pacific region, and advance efforts to improve our trading relationship with the United Kingdom and European Union.

Food Safety Modernization Act

NASDA continues to work towards full implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act through policy engagement on a variety of issues including training, agricultural water, audits and enforcement, traceability and labeling and funding for FDA and states. NASDA remains engaged with FDA on a host of issues beyond FSMA such as standards of identity for food products and science-based regulation of advanced technologies like animal biotechnology.


NASDA recognizes the tremendous promise that hemp production offers the agricultural community. As a result, NASDA has been consistently engaged with federal regulators on implementing the 2018 Farm Bill hemp provisions. Further, NASDA continues working to cultivate long-term success for the hemp industry.

This year, NASDA successfully engaged Capitol Hill to secured language in a continuing resolution to extend the implementation of the Interim Final Hemp Rule until September 2021. NASDA also submitted formal comments to the Federal Register regarding the Interim Final Hemp Rule and Drug Enforcement Administration’s cannabidiol (CBD) processing rule.

COVID-19 Response

The impacts of COVID-19 have placed unprecedented strains on our food supply system. Surging grocery sales, a precipitous drop in food service demand and soaring food assistance needs have created challenges for producers and consumers alike. NASDA has advocated for policy solutions like the Farming Support to States Act to keep workers and food safe, support local and regional food systems, expand food processing and distribution and support rural recovery efforts.

  • The Farming Support to States Act would provide $1 billion to state ag departments and enable NASDA members to ensure a strong recovery for rural America.
  • NASDA advocated for the CARES ACT Funds to go to state departments of agriculture. Included was $300 Million to go towards National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN)
  • Helped extend COVID relief funds to Aquaculture
    • NASDA successfully advocated to the USDA for the inclusion of Aquaculture in the second round of CFAP.
  • NASDA endorsed the RAMP-UP Act (HR 7490) to help meat processors improve inspection programs & states to transport more meat across state lines
    • NASDA’s meat processing working group promoted legislation (S.4156) to provide states with $300 million for COVID-19 testing and disease prevention & preparedness.

A Glance at NASDA’s FY20 Revenue: 4.4 Million

NASDA's FY20 Revenue

NASDA Foundation

The mission of the NASDA Foundation is to advance agriculture to shape a changing world. We carry out this mission by working with state departments of agriculture on regional and national programs that:

  • Connect farmers to new markets.
  • Inspire change across the supply chain.
  • Empower diverse farmers & agricultural leaders to reach their dreams.

The NASDA Foundation is growing a portfolio of projects that advance and amplify the work of NASDA members. Over the past year, the NASDA Foundation has led:

  • Women’s Farm to Food Accelerator in Oregon, Washington, Florida and Nevada: Partnered with state departments of agriculture to develop a program that empowers women farmers to scale-up their food and beverage businesses.
  • Agriculture Policy Summit: Partnered with Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) to host a conference that taught college students about the organizations and federal agencies that influence and administer agricultural policy.
  • USDA AMS grant performance measures project: Hosted feedback sessions with NASDA members, their staff, and ag stakeholders to collect feedback on the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and other USDA Agricultural Marketing Service grant program performance metrics.
  • NASDA Foundation-NASDA-MANRRS MOU: Developed a five-year MOU to connect state departments of agriculture with dynamic college students engaged in MANRRS chapters across the country.

NASDA – NASS Partnership

The NASDA-NASS (National Agricultural Statistics Service) cooperative agreement serves the need for high quality agricultural and rural data for the U.S. It ensures that farmers and ranchers have a voice in the future of rural communities and all of agriculture. This year, NASDA shifted to new ways of working and engaging with survey respondents. NASDA enumerators are utilizing innovative technologies to collect farm survey data remotely from home to ensure everyone’s health and safety. Our cooperative agreement remains strong, viable and dedicated to our mission and goals.

NASDA Enumerators Collecting Farm Data

NASDA-FAS Partnership
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.

export sales/buyer-seller introductions

NASDA-FDA Partnership
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.