January 31, 2014
This week, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) held its winter meeting at the historic Thurgood Marshall Center in Washington, D.C., where over 80 representatives of member organizations met to propose, discuss, and decide on priorities for the coming year. It was an exciting instance of NSAC and national processes directly coinciding, with the long-awaited 2014 Farm Bill finally coming to a vote in the House as many NSAC members visited Congressional offices.
The coalition set 2014 priorities to ensure fair implementation of federal farm and food policy. The meeting’s keynote speech, delivered by USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, addressed in detail several of NSAC’s implementation focus areas for 2014: conservation, beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers, local and regional food systems, and crop insurance reform. Along with food safety and sustainable farm and food system research, these topics comprise NSAC’s 2014 farm and food policy agenda as voted on and approved by NSAC’s member organizations. At the close of the meeting, representatives from NSAC member organizations met with high ranking officials at USDA and FDA to discuss moving our agenda forward.
2014 is shaping up to be a significant and challenging year for sustainable agriculture policy efforts: the farm bill passed by the House this week will likely be passed by the Senate next week and signed into law by President Obama shortly thereafter, kicking off extensive implementation efforts nationwide. In addition, this spring will bring annual agricultural appropriations, and summer will see FDA’s revised Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rules and an opportunity to comment once again on these significant proposed rules. In the coming months, NSAC and our member organizations will work to make our priorities a reality by expanding and strengthening advocacy at the grassroots level and on Capitol Hill.
Categories: General Interest