Today at the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture 2021 Winter Policy Conference, state agriculture department leaders voted to adopt new policies aimed at improving essential worker safety and investing in local and regional food. Today’s enacted policies are a step to innovate the U.S. food system in response to supply chain vulnerabilities revealed by COVID-19.
While the new policies propose a variety of methods to make these improvements, each specifies that small-and medium-size food businesses are critical, and the people who operate them are at the center of a flourishing, resilient food system.
NASDA’s new processing policy calls for federal policies that will support new and expand local and regional processing facilities.
“While our current system has reached efficiency heights only dreamed of by previous generations, today’s market unintentionally creates challenges for small and local food producers, processors and distributors,” NASDA CEO Dr. Barb Glenn said. “Significant investments are needed to protect the diversity of our production facilities and their market access.”
In addition, NASDA members support expanding federal meat and poultry processing facility grants to state inspected meat processing facilities. Modernizing state processing facilities protects consumers from price shocks, reduces distress to producers caused by unexpected herd culling and increases local economic activity.
NASDA members fervently support interagency efforts to secure resources such as PPE and COVID-19 vaccines for agricultural and food worker protection to maintain a continual food supply.
“No matter what the circumstances are, NASDA understands the importance of getting these individuals the resources needed to stay safe while they ensure we have a steady food supply, Glenn said. “Our food system depends first on the wellbeing of the people who work each day to grow, harvest, process, pack and transport our food.”
NASDA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit association which represents the elected and appointed commissioners, secretaries and directors of the departments of agriculture in all fifty states and four U.S. territories. NASDA grows and enhances American agriculture through policy, partnerships and public engagement. To learn more about NASDA, please visit www.nasda.org.