DOAG: NATIONAL AGRICULTURE LEADERS TO GATHER IN CONNECTICUT



August 29, 2018


NATIONAL AGRICULTURE LEADERS TO GATHER IN CONNECTICUT

Jason Bowsza, Chief of Staff, Commissioner’s Office


The Connecticut Department of Agriculture (DoAg) is excited to be hosting this year’s annual meeting of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) in Hartford during the second week of September. 


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 United States territories.


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. NASDA is an organization that carries considerable weight on Capitol Hill due to its unified membership and strong stakeholder support.  For more information about NASDA visit https://www.nasda.org.


This year’s annual meeting is the first time in NASDA’s 102-year history that the meeting will be held in Connecticut, which is due to DoAg Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky having been elected to lead this national policy organization. 


Commissioner Reviczky’s leadership of NASDA coincides with consideration of the 2018 federal Farm Bill, which will outline priorities for programming through the United States Department of Agriculture. This unique leadership opportunity has allowed the commissioner to emphasize the importance of diversified agriculture as that legislation is being considered. 


“Hosting the NASDA annual meeting gives us an opportunity to showcase Connecticut, our diverse agricultural production, and highly regarded urban initiatives,” said Commissioner Reviczky.


During the annual meeting, attendees will engage in conversation around a wide range of topics.  Bill Davenport, former Connecticut Teacher of the Year and current State Board of Education member, will participate in a panel discussion led by Commissioner Reviczky discussing ways of modernizing STEM education to meet 21st century needs and the changing world of agriculture. 


Different discussions throughout the first day of the conference will focus on timely issues such as innovations in retail markets and the impact of the Food Safety Modernization Act, as well as emerging technologies and the role of science in public policy.


Governor Dannel P. Malloy is scheduled to address the conference and welcome agriculture leaders from across the country to Connecticut.  During his tenure, Governor Malloy has consistently been dedicated to advancing farming and agriculture in Connecticut, and has often been referred to as the greatest governor for agriculture in Connecticut in a generation.


United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue will also address the conference. During his tenure, Secretary Perdue has shown a sincere commitment to addressing challenges facing agriculture across the country, most specifically focusing on providing 21st century tools such as broadband access to rural America.


Secretary Perdue’s motto at USDA has been “do good and feed everyone.”  Food and Drug Administration Deputy Commissioner Dr. Stephen Ostroff will address NASDA later in the week to discuss priorities for the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act and its impact on states and producers.


NASDA has developed a program called NASDA Next Generation that will be front and center throughout the conference.  This program aims at engaging emerging leaders into agriculture policy discussions and including them in the annual meeting. 


This year, some of the best and brightest from the University of Connecticut (UConn) will be attending the meeting, engaging in policy dialogue, and getting an opportunity to see agriculture from the perspective of a national audience.  Connecticut is proud of the commitment of students in the UConn College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources, and this is an opportunity to introduce them to stakeholders from across the country.


On the second day of the conference, attendees will have an opportunity to escape the convention setting and explore different aspects of Connecticut agriculture in the field. 


Tours will showcase innovations in farm-raised fish, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at one of Connecticut’s world-renowned oyster operations. A tour of UConn will offer a look at cutting edge research, as well as achievements in extending growing seasons in Connecticut’s four-season climate. 


Others will look at achievements in urban agriculture, as well as the challenges and successes of farm-to-school programs, from the perspectives of both producers and school districts.  Everyone will have an opportunity to learn about Connecticut’s climate and the emergence of Connecticut’s farm wineries.


Having first been elected to a leadership position within NASDA four years ago, Commissioner Reviczky has served as secretary-treasurer, second vice president, vice president, and since September of 2017 as president of the organization. This meeting represents the culmination of more than two years’ work on the part of the Commissioner and staff within DoAg. 


“It has been an absolute honor and privilege to serve as president of NASDA and to work alongside my colleagues to advance American agriculture,” said Commissioner Reviczky.  “As NASDA’s president, I have had the opportunity to influence public policy in ways that shine a light on Connecticut and northeast farm families.”


Connecticut has a long agricultural history, and we are cutting edge in terms of diversification techniques.  The opportunity to showcase our accomplishments to the entire country is a tremendous opportunity, and the department is incredibly proud to be hosting leaders in this sector from across the United States.


For more information about the 2018 NASDA Annual Meeting visit https://www.nasda.org/event/2018-nasda-annual-meeting.