Commissioner Hugh Weathers: Annual NASDA Meeting This Week

This year’s National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) conference is in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Commissioner Hugh Weathers is in Albuquerque this week, and we spoke with him asked him what’s on his mind and what he hopes to learn there.

  • NASDA is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization representing top ag officials in all 50 states and four U.S. territories.
  • NASDA meetings are always a great opportunity to interact with representatives from the different departments of agriculture across the country. We learn a lot from each other by communicating and sharing what’s happening in our respective states.
  • Some of NASDA’s 2019 top policy priorities include:
    • “Regulatory Framework for CBD” — Here in South Carolina, CBD has quickly grown as an industry since farmers began growing hemp.
    • “How Non-Tariff Barriers Impact Global Trade” — Labeling, import regulations, and other issues restrict US agricultural exports – it’s not just tariffs
    • “How Demographic Shifts Impact Agriculture”- In SC, we have a higher % of new and beginning farmers, veteran farmers, and women farmers than the national average
  • In addition to policy discussion, a wide variety of educational sessions and workshops were offered, including topics such as rural development, marketing and much more.
  • We will also be participating in a New Mexico Culinary Arts Tour that will showcase New Mexico’s ag and food. NM boasts the highest concentration of pecan production in the world, something that any South Carolinian that enjoys pecan pie or pralines can appreciate.
  • Overall, we are looking forward to a great conference and will bring back the knowledge we receive from USDA and other states.