This is the event of the year for all of the State Secretaries and Commissioners of Agriculture. Everyone is congregating in Asheville this week.
“It is the annual meeting for National Association of Departments of Agriculture, we get together twice a year, in Washington for legislative updates and then again in the fall for more broad discussions.
We will talk about the fact that the farm bill has yet to get passed, we have immigration and food safety to talk about. It’s a good chance to get around the table and meet folks from across the country to build relationships.
All of those issues have great impact on SC farmers. We had some great meetings during the August recess with our Congressman to explain what we are facing for the handpicked crops that are so important to SC’s economy. We also talked about the farm bill and about getting some stability for the next 4-5 years around the framework where the USDA partners with farmers to give a safety net. And for all producing food, it was to talk about the next steps of the Food Safety Modernization Act and what does it mean when it hits the ground. Also the clean water act and how the interpretations seem to get more broad and the impact on farms.
Our job, when we come together, is to look at regional differences and come to a consensus so that when we go to Washington representing the farmers, that we speak with a unified voice. That is what serves the farmers across the country so well.
All of these issues affect more than just agriculture, the ripples go out to many other industries.”