Last week, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) held its Winter Policy Conference. Here to tell us more is SC Ag Commissioner Hugh Weathers.
- This event is always a good opportunity to check in on what’s happening at the federal level. That’s especially true when in years when there’s a new administration in Washington. In fact, a lot has changed at the federal leadership level.
- The Democrat-to-Republican margins in both the US House and Senate are very slim, which gives people across the political spectrum more incentive to work together. Agriculture issues often cut across party lines, so I’m hopefully we can get some real work done in the next few years.
- Some of the main issues discussed were food security, climate, equity for minority farmers, and of course the upcoming Farm Bill.
- The COVID-19 pandemic helped us identify our weaknesses when it comes to supply chain issues and food security, but it also helped us identify our strengths, like the resiliency of the ag community, and provided opportunities to engage with our communities to provide assistance and educate the public on food, ag and the importance of this industry to the country.
- Although the 2021 Policy Conference was held virtually, I was glad to be able to hear from my colleagues in various states. Many farmers in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and neighboring states are still suffering the effects of the winter storms, power outages and terrible cold weather that swept through the region.
- I’m hoping that as the vaccine rollout picks up in the months ahead, we’ll all be able to get back to some in-person conferences