The commissioner recently spent some time in New Orleans with the Southern States Department of Agriculture, called SASDA.
“A few staff members and myself drove there and we got to see several states and lots of crops and get an appreciation for a new part of the world.
This SASDA meeting was one of the most productive I have been to, based on the topics of discussion and the new commissioners and secretaries around the table. I came away on a positive note on some efforts on southeastern agriculture.
The Commissioner of Louisiana was the host this year and did a great job to show us some agriculture. We went out and visited a grain elevator on the port, an oil refinery, looked at some sugar cane mills and saw a new part of the southeast. They have some common challenges, theirs has a bit more to do with water than ours, but they have the same challenges of public understanding of agriculture, the regulatory environment and attracting young people to agriculture. I don’t think we solved all the problems but we committed to working more together to solve them on behalf of farmers in the southeast.
Immigration reform was an important topic, there was a presentation on it and then later on a presentation by the National Ag Law Center based in Arkansas, and they gave a perspective on it. To discuss improving the guest worker program that serves us, but needs to serve us more efficiently and effectively was important.
Every part of the country has their unique challenges, but with this group we want to find our common challenges that we can work across state lines to solve them. We want to share our human and financial resources to work on the issues that affect all of our farmers.”