New year priorities: NASDA sets federal policy focus for 2024
National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) members, state commissioners, secretaries and directors of agriculture, have chosen five issues to serve as the organization’s primary policy focus for 2024.
These include the 2024 Farm Bill, food safety, labor reform, pesticide regulation and per-and-poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
NASDA Chief Executive Officer Ted McKinney remarked on the gravity of these issues for 2024.
“These issues were chosen for the organization’s 2024 focus as NASDA members see urgent need for action in these areas to support farmers and ranchers in their ability to grow our nation’s food, fiber and fuel. Further, we believe these are the areas where state departments of agriculture are uniquely positioned to champion policy solutions this year,” McKinney said.
NASDA has published one-page documents offering background and insight for each policy priority.
2024 Farm Bill
Agricultural producers, the rural economy and communities of every size rely on a forward-looking and fully-funded farm bill, which provides farmers and ranchers with a reliable safety net.
The farm bill must provide consumers access to the safest and most affordable food supply and must remain unified – securing a commitment to American agriculture and the critical food and nutritional assistance programs for those who need it most.
The farm bill is an issue of national security.
Therefore, NASDA implores Congress to expedite passage of a unified farm bill which secures a commitment to American agriculture, notably its farmers and ranchers and the critical food and nutritional assistance programs for those who need it most.
State departments of agriculture are the frontline in protecting consumers against foodborne illness and food contamination.
NASDA will continue to advocate for funding state Food Safety Modernization Act programs to protect the nation’s food supply and ensure farmers across the country are equipped with information needed to apply Food Safety Modernization Act requirements on their farms.
Farmers and ranchers need a legal, reliable guest worker program which provides a workforce to support farms and ranches, while treating workers with respect.
Reforming the H-2A program would provide farmers and ranchers with a legal and reliable workforce while curbing rising food prices and maintaining global competitiveness.
In 43 states and Puerto Rico, the state department of agriculture is a co-regulatory partner with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is responsible for administering, implementing and enforcing the production, labeling, distribution, sale, use and disposal of pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act which establishes a rigorous, scientific evaluation and review process for these tools.
EPA has stated the agency faces several challenges in developing timely and effective strategies to protect listed endangered species in a way that is both practical for pesticide users to implement and timely to protect species.
NASDA, as always, stands ready to work with the EPA on developing an Endangered Species Act compliance strategy growers can support and comply with while safeguarding endangered species.
PFAS are steadily emerging as a major issue to society at large, including farmers and ranchers in the U.S.
NASDA supports urgently funding additional federal research to answer questions and concerns regarding the presence of PFAS in society and the degree to which it presents risk.
NASDA also supports developing strategies to address the presence of PFAS, should it be found on or around farms. The U.S. must ensure farmers and ranchers keep their agricultural land and animals healthy and productive.
NASDA is a nonpartisan association which speaks as a unified voice on behalf of all 50 states and four territories to influence policy and help solve some of the nation’s most important agricultural issues. For more information on NASDA, visit nasda.org.