The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture continues to contribute to long-term stability and resilience in our nation’s food supply chain and provide frontline protection for consumers when it comes to food safety. In our upcoming Food System Series—a new blog series featuring NASDA members’ and farmers’ perspectives—we’d like to show you how.
As it has across many industries, the COVID-19 pandemic threw unexpected challenges into our nation’s food and production supply chains and food safety systems. NASDA always seeks to have a firm grasp on the workings of agricultural systems and the needs of its members so NASDA can be well-positioned to rise to the challenge.
“Recent times have offered a different set of challenges, but the goals of our farmers and American agriculture stay the same – continue feeding the world safely and sustainably,” NASDA CEO Ted McKinney said. “NASDA has spent the last two years working diligently to ensure infrastructure, workforce development training and other needs are met so agriculture and our food systems can continue to improve and thrive.”
What are some ways NASDA has accomplished this and continues to work towards these goals? In our Food System Series we’ll cover:
Furthering food safety through partnerships
One of state agriculture departments’ primary responsibilities is to ensure the safety of our nation’s food supply. NASDA members work collaboratively with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to meet the goal of preventing foodborne illness. Believing in the importance of “educating before regulating,” NASDA also works to ensure farmers have the tools they need to adopt food safety best practices on the farm.
In 2021, the FDA also re-released its agricultural water proposed rule, which establishes standards for water usage in the production of produce.
NASDA cooperated with FDA to compliment the agency’s efforts to reach as many produce farmers and other stakeholders as possible to ensure the agriculture community is informed on the new proposal and provide ample opportunity to comment on it. Once the rule is finalized, NASDA will work with FDA, academia, the produce industry and the states to ensure the new rules are understood, farmers have the ability to comply and the food supply is safe.
Supply chain stability
The impacts of the pandemic placed unprecedented strains on our food supply system. A precipitous drop in food service demand, the resulting surge in grocery sales and soaring food assistance needs created challenges for producers and consumers alike.
NASDA supported legislation and regulatory action that would help modernize establishments, support smaller-sized meat processing facilities and add resiliency to the food supply chain, thereby protecting consumers from price shocks and increasing local economic activity.
The Ocean Shipping Reform Act
The Ocean Shipping Reform Act is a bipartisan bill that addresses unreasonable ocean carrier practices that are undermining U.S. export competitiveness. The bill has been passed in both the U.S. House and Senate, and a conference committee has been formed to reconcile the differences between the two versions.
NASDA supports this bill because the reforms made will help address the longstanding issues of port congestion and supply chain interruptions.
NASDA will continue to enhance American food and agricultural communities through policy, partnerships and public engagement. In the coming weeks, make sure to check back in on our Food System Series for an in-depth look at our plan and actions.