DOAG: CMSR. REVICZKY, COLLEAGUES SEEK COMMON GROUND WITH USDA SECRETARY PERDUE


 

 

CMSR. REVICZKY, COLLEAGUES SEEK COMMON GROUND

WITH USDA SECRETARY PERDUE

 

May 31, 2017

 

Agriculture Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky and several of his colleagues from around the country recently met in Washington, D.C. with USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue and other officials to discuss the states’ agricultural priorities and urge federal cooperation in acting on them.

 

The meeting between Perdue and the group of chief agricultural officials and executive officers from the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) earlier this month was designed to seek common ground on a variety of issues, challenges and concerns.

 

“It was an honor and privilege to sit down with Secretary Perdue in the first few weeks after his confirmation to discuss initiatives and issues important to farmers and agriculture,” Reviczky said. “With a new administration in Washington and the Farm Bill advancing in Congress, we wanted Secretary Perdue to know our priorities and that we are ready to help advance a thoughtful agenda.”

 

NASDA’s priorities, as presented to Perdue, include:

 

· COOPERATIVE FEDERALISM

 

NASDA encourages the Administration and Congress to make a commitment to Cooperative Federalism – a robust partnership and role for states in the federal policymaking process. States have a unique role in implementing both federal and state programs. A critical component of Cooperative Federalism is regulatory reform to ensure the states’ unique roles are respected.

 

· FOOD SAFETY

 

Proper implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is a major priority for NASDA. While FDA has a long history of enforcing food safety laws and reacting to outbreaks of public health significance, FSMA focuses on preventive controls and gives FDA new authority to regulate produce growers and many animal food producers for the first time.

 

These new authorities will require robust cooperation with state and local regulatory agencies and long-term investment by Congress and the Administration into the financial resources for states for many years into the future.

· INTERNATIONAL TRADE

 

Securing new export market access, ensuring a level international playing field, and fostering increased harmonization are vital to U.S. agriculture. Bilateral and multilateral trade agreements, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement and a much-needed Asia-Pacific trade agreement, are critical to creating markets and eliminating trade barriers for U.S. agricultural products.

 

· FARM BILL

 

Agricultural producers, the rural economy, and communities of every size rely on a robust, forward looking, and fully funded Farm Bill. NASDA calls on Congress to craft, in a timely manner, a new Farm Bill that provides farmers important tools and new opportunities.

NASDA’s priorities focus on enhanced funding for invasive species programs, the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBG), the Market Access Program.

SCBG provides important tools to enhance specialty crop production, while also advancing foods with critical health benefits. To the extent additional funding is available, funding for SCBG should be increased and Congress should ensure a flexible, locally responsive, and state-led program.

Building on the successes of the invasive species programs created by the 2014 Farm Bill, Congress should bring additional tools to bear on this serious economic threat.

Funding for the highly successful Plant Pest and Disease Management & Disaster Prevention program and the National Clean Plant Network should be increased to provide additional tools for domestic invasive species issues.

A proactive, multi-faceted animal disease program is needed to safeguard animal agriculture, promote sustainable economic development and prevent catastrophic events that could threaten our nation's food supply.

Expanding on the authorization for the National Animal Health Laboratory Network, and modeled after the aforementioned invasive species programs, this program will bring together the federal government with states, industry, universities, and other agricultural stakeholders to reduce the impact of high-consequence animal diseases.

Its goals would be to provide rapid detection and response capabilities, develop disease prevention and mitigation technologies, support a vaccine bank infrastructure, prevent the entrance and spread of foreign animal diseases into the U.S., and identify & support critical research needs.

Robust funding for agricultural research and extension programs, and infrastructure, particularly within our nation's many outstanding agricultural colleges and universities, is vital to ensuring producers remain competitive domestically and globally.

The Farm Bill must also ensure adequate funding for research focusing on the safety of the food system and improving and protecting our natural resources.