What NASDA wants to see in the next Farm Bill
The Food Safety Modernization Act overhauled food safety regulations, but there are still some implementation challenges that need to be worked out in the next Farm Bill, according to NASDA CEO Ted McKinney who says programs are implemented at the state level.
“We’re working with FDA on the training materials and then we train those people in the states. Then it’s a state regulator that’s going on the farm and that’s much more preferable for farmers, our ranchers than seeing someone one that has no idea of their good name, the crops, the climate, the uniqueness that do come with different states or commonwealths around the country.”
Cybersecurity is another Farm Bill priority for the association which supports authorizing the Cybersecurity Consortium at $20 million a year.
“With all the things going on with Russia, it’s time to watch out. Most people know the JBS story; that could easily happen to a large farm. There are ways that people can tap into these things and we don’t want that to happen. So, whether it’s a farmer, large or small, or anybody downstream, all the way to the consumer plate, we believe that cybersecurity is something that a lot of people need to pay attention to.”
NASDA is also getting more involved in African swine fever prevention and recommends significant research funding for prevention and management of animal diseases.
“Our members need and want to be there, so we’re going to be involved, but also to the degree that we do a lot more internationally. If we’re traveling to countries around the world, why would we not want to purvey and share all the efforts that we’re undertaking to prevent African swine fever? It’s ravaging much of Africa. It’s ravaging China still, and still has a way to go in much of Europe.”
McKinney also wants to see more investment in conservation research and says NASDA supports more funding for the Conservation Easement Program and EQIP.
“I’ve seen firsthand what a great job both departments do, but also a lot of credit to farmers whether you’re a crop farmer or a livestock and poultry farmer man. From riparian buffers, long creeks and waterways, to the growth in cover crops, and hese really, really make a difference-- not just to the farmer in their soil, avoiding soil or wind erosion, but to the consumer who really is demanding this.”
Other Farm Bill priorities include trade promotion, support for local food systems and specialty crop block grants, funding for invasive species management, and a revision of the rules for hemp production.