The HVADC Cultivator
2022 NASDA Annual Meeting
In late September the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) held its 2022 NASDA Annual Meeting in Saratoga Springs - hosted by the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, with Commissioner Richard Ball presiding as this year’s NASDA president. The three-day conference annually brings together the highest ranking state agriculture officials from across the U.S. and was attended by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Villsack, who offered comments on the second day of the event.
HVADC Executive Director Todd Erling attended the event, and said it was important on a number of fronts, primarily that the most influential names in American agriculture got a first-hand look at the way New York farmers do business. Looking to offer a sterling example of home-grown success, the conference, organized by Ball and his staff, offered an afternoon of offsite tours, which included a field trip to view the operation of HVADC Incubator’s Without Walls client and Farm and Food Funding Accelerator participant Argyle Cheese Farmer who recently expanded their mom and pop farm operation dramatically with a new partnership with Ideal Dairy, and new dairy processing facility in Hudson Falls.
“I’m so honored to be the NASDA President this year, leading our nation in developing policies that affect our farmers and our food and beverage industries,” said Commissioner Ball. “As NASDA President, we also have the privilege of hosting the NASDA conference and showcasing New York agriculture to its more than 300 attendees. We have so much to be proud of here in New York.”
NASDA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit association which represents the elected and appointed commissioners, secretaries and directors of the departments of agriculture in all 50 states and four U.S. territories. Their annual meeting was an opportunity for Erling to meet with leaders and key staff to discuss HVADC’s priorities, especially for increasing funding for Business Technical Assistance (BTA) in new bills and legislation.
“HVADC and our peer organizations at the Agricultural Viability Alliance (The Alliance), were able to continue our call to the NASDA that Business Technical Assistance needs to be built into Farm Bill programs,” said Erling. “The proof of the return on investment of BTA was evident for all to see when officials met with our friends at Argyle Cheese.”
This year’s conference, which was themed “Still Growing,” focused on opportunities presented by the 2023 Farm Bill, international trade, securing a skilled, sustainable workforce for the agricultural and food industry, and other pressing issues. The conference included several panel discussions, and a committee and business meeting, where policies were debated and voted on.
While the meeting was an opportunity for HVADC and The Alliance to raise the flag for more BTA funding, Erling said it also offered an opportunity for all members of The Alliance to reflect on the policy successes they’ve made so far. As a result of the letter co-signed by HVADC and 150 agricultural aid organizations, and championed by local congressional members, millions of dollars have been allocated for the creation of Regional Business Centers across the country.
The “Still Growing” theme is also a resilient message and perhaps a bit of a reminder to the industry that New York is still a top five producer of at least 25 different commodities, including milk, sour cream, apples, sour cherries, cabbage and many other products.
“I am happy to say that the NASDA has heard The Alliance’s voice on the issue of Business Technical Assistance and agrees with us that it is vital to the health and sustainability of our agricultural economies,” said Erling. I’m also grateful that Commissioner Ball was chosen as host this year to give New York farms the opportunity to show the rest of America how we lead.”
During the course of the conference, NASDA members passed 12 policy amendments and five action items to continue working toward the advancement of agriculture. At the end of the conference, Commissioner Ball passed the oar to Director Doug Miyamoto from the Wyoming Department of Agriculture who will take the lead as NASDA’s new president in the coming year.