Dear Chairman Shelby, Chairwoman Lowey, Ranking Member Leahy and Ranking Member Granger:
As Congress advances fiscal year 2021 (FY21) appropriations legislation, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) encourages you to support programs that enhance farmers, ranchers and their rural communities and ensure a safe, affordable, and abundant food supply. NASDA represents the Commissioners, Secretaries, and Directors of agriculture in all fifty states and four territories. NASDA members are co-regulators with the federal government and strong advocates for American agriculture. For FY21, we ask you to prioritize the below programs. An addendum is attached providing a more detailed breakout of the requests.
1. Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA): Produce, Animal Food, Produce Safety Alliance, Food Safety Outreach Program
NASDA members are at the forefront of implementing FSMA and funding these programs will allow NASDA to continue building state regulatory programs required by FSMA and educate and train the farm and food sectors on compliance. The education, outreach, and training provided by state programs, FSOP and PSA are all critical pieces of meeting FSMA’s mandate and ensuring a safe food supply.
2. Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN) – $10 million, full funding
Funding will continue efforts enabled by FY19 and FY20 funding to scale assistance programs and create trainings and partnerships to serve rural Americans—60% of whom live in areas with mental health professional shortages.
3. National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) – $30 million, full funding
NAHLN funding is critical for large-scale animal-disease outbreak response. NASDA members, who regulate and oversee animal health in the states, are the first line of defense against animal disease outbreaks and rely on NALHN labs for tracking disease progress and performing tests on thousands of diagnostic samples. Federal funding for the NAHLN will expand surveillance and surge capacity to diagnose diseases and ramp up during emergency situations.
4. State and Tribal Assistance Grants (STAG) – Categorical Grant
STAG provides states with funding to implement the co-regulatory framework of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Increased funds will allow states to meet their increasing workload regarding drift complains and implementation of new federal regulations.
NASDA asks that you give our requests careful consideration as you work to fund the nation’s agricultural policy priorities in fiscal year 2021. We appreciate the committee’s continued investments
Barbara P. Glenn, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer