State Ag officials meet with Cabinet officials on infrastructure, technology

Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black joined other members of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) at the White House for the White House Conference on Rural Prosperity where Vice President Mike Pence, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., and other administration officials addressed the important opportunities for the federal government and states to work together to advance Rural America.

During the conference, Secretary Perdue and Commissioner Gottlieb signed a formal agreement to bolster coordination and collaboration between the two agencies on a number of issues including Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) implementation and the Coordinated Framework for Biotechnology.

Commissioner Black has long endorsed the importance of cooperative state-federal partnerships in advancing agriculture, and hosted Dr. Gottlieb last August on a tour of several South Georgia farms to further discuss FSMA implementation.

“Thanks to the commitment by USDA and FDA food safety cooperation is at an all-time high,” said Commissioner Black. “We are confident that the enhanced collaboration between the two agencies will result in common sense implementation of FSMA.”

NASDA Members are gathered in Washington, DC this week for one of two annual meetings where the policy positions and priorities for the association are determined. During the opening plenary session members passed a number of action items for 2018, including:

Calling on Congress to pass a unified, fully-funded Farm Bill before authorization expires on Sept. 30.

Urging Congress and the Administration to invest in broadband infrastructure and expand broadband service.

Calling for meaningful investments in any infrastructure package developed by Congress and the Administration.

Requesting the U.S. Department of Labor to expand work based training to include apprenticeships and microcredentials.

NASDA represents the elected and appointed commissioners, secretaries, and directors of the departments of agriculture in all fifty states and four U.S. territories. NASDA grows and enhances agriculture by forging partnerships and creating consensus to achieve sound policy outcomes between state departments of agriculture, the federal government, and stakeholders.