February 21, 2014
Release: NSAC Honors Iowan and Harkin Staff Member Mark Halverson
February 21, 2014, Washington, DC – Iowan and staff member for Senator Tom Harkin, Mark Halverson, was honored January 29 at the annual meeting of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) for his decades-long leadership in the service of family farming, agricultural conservation, and progressive policies for agriculture and rural communities. Halverson, from rural Toledo in Tama County, has managed agriculture policy for 25 years on the staff of Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and was staff director and chief counsel of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry when Harkin chaired the Committee.
“I want to thank Mark for his being a great friend to me and to congratulate him for his years of work with me in support of legislation and policies to promote family farm agriculture and rural communities in Iowa and across our country,” Senator Harkin said. “I particularly want to point to Mark’s leadership in helping me to author and enact the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), defend it and keep it growing so that today more than 60 million acres are enrolled, with many more to come in the new farm bill. His work and commitment has also been instrumental in enacting the first-ever energy title in a farm bill, boosting help to beginning farmers, reforming farm programs, and promoting healthier nutrition and local and organic food production.”
“It has been my privilege to work for Senator Harkin and with NSAC to enact and carry out policies that help Americans earn livelihoods and live rewarding, productive lives on family farms and in rural communities,” said Halverson. “Such policies reward and encourage good stewardship and conservation of the land, energy and other resources, enhance opportunities in producing and selling nutritious, healthy and safe food, and help to rebuild and revitalize rural communities for the future. I am deeply grateful to NSAC for this recognition of work that has been very personal to me.”In presenting the award, NSAC Policy Director Ferd Hoefner noted, “good public policy happens for many reasons and with the contributions of many, but none more important, though often unrecognized, than the senior congressional staff who lead, guide, focus, negotiate, push, prod, and in many other ways help get the job accomplished.” Hoefner thanked Mark Halverson for his ability to get the maximum amount of progressive change out of often difficult congressional proceedings.
In particular, NSAC thanked Halverson and Senator Harkin for their work on farm conservation, farm program reform, beginning farmers, livestock competition, renewable energy, support for organic and local food programs, and food safety. The award was presented “with gratitude and deep affection for work marked by intelligence, integrity, patience, persistence, friendship, and an enduring commitment to social justice, protecting natural resources and the environment, and fostering farming and economic opportunity.”
Those in attendance at the award ceremony — including Senator Harkin and representatives from many of NSAC’s 102 farm, rural, and conservation member organizations from all around the country — gave Mark a long, heartfelt standing ovation.
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