NSAC's Blog

NSAC’s 2010 Policy Priorities

February 15, 2010

Each year, the NSAC membership engages in a set of discussions within NSAC’s four policy issue committees and then at our annual face-to-face meeting in January about the coming year’s policy priorities.  The NSAC Policy Council, made up of formally represented members, makes the final decision about the slate of issues the coalition will together advocate for.

As our membership grows in size (we’re 80 organizations strong!) so does our diversity and power.  Our priorities reflect long-standing work on conservation, rural development, and research, as well as emerging issues that are increasing important to sustainable agriculture.

The following are NSAC’s 2010 priorities categorized by issue committee.  To learn more about each of the committees, click on the header of each section.

Conservation, Energy and Environment

  • Conservation Stewardship Program
  • Organic Conversion Assistance & Organic Systems Conservation Program Integration
  • Farm Bill Conservation Program Implementation & Funding
  • Agriculture Issues in Climate Change Legislation
  • Funding for Conservation Technical Assistance

Farming Opportunities and Fair Competition

  • Beginning and Socially Disadvantaged Farmer Outreach and Training Grant Programs & Conservation Programs
  • Livestock Competition and Contract Agriculture Reform Rulemakings and Public Hearings
  • Funding for Beginning Farmer and Rancher Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) & Direct Farm Ownership and Operating Loans

Marketing, Food Systems, and Rural Development

  • Agriculture, Food Systems, and Rural Economic Development Grant and Loan Programs
  • Food Safety Legislation
  • Farm to School Legislation and Funding in the Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization
  • Funding for Value-Added Producer Grants, Rural Micro-entrepreneur Assistance Program, and Regional Rural Innovation Initiative

Research, Education, and Extension

  • Agriculture & Food Research Initiative (AFRI) – Sustainable Food, Agriculture & Rural Development Considerations
  • Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Program
  • Funding for SARE, Organic Research, and Antibiotic Resistance Research

Categories: Beginning and Minority Farmers, Competition & Anti-trust, Conservation, Energy & Environment, Food Safety, Local & Regional Food Systems, Organic, Research, Education & Extension

2 responses to “NSAC’s 2010 Policy Priorities”

  1. Harry Hamil says:

    I find the detail on “Food Safety Legislation” appalling. There is ZERO!

    Despite the fact that S 510/HR 2749 will, at best, cripple the local, healthy food movement and quite possibly destroy us, it is not even listed in NSAC’s policy priorities.

    Also, we are down to the wire on S 510 and there is absolutely nothing on the Home Page, nothing under “What’s New at NSAC.”

    Then, I click on “Take Action” and all that is shown on “Food Safety Legislation” is an alert for the Stabenow bill which even the Make Our Food Safe Coalition, in its entirety, supports. There is ZERO listing on S 510.

    But, I persist, click on “Blogs” and go to the side bar for “Food Safety.” There I learn essentially nothing since the 2-18-10 update which is almost entirely about what happened in Harkin’s 11-18-09 mark up of S 510.

    Then, I try to search feature for “food safety” and get a mixture of bits and pieces completely useless in knowing what needs to be done now..

    Next, I try “Our Work” and then “Food Safety” and finally find quite a bit including a link to the 3-29-10 “Recommended Amendments to S 510” though there is no alert notifying anyone of its existence. I read it and realize that it does not contain the previous recommendation to not classify farms with a 3 year average annual agricultural production of less that $1,000,000 as food facilities so they would not be subject to the onerous, inappropriate and ineffective Hazard Analysis & Risk-based Preventive Control plans. Does that mean NSAC has changed its mind?

    Considering the above, how is it possible, as you claim on the “Food Safety” page of “Our Work” that “NSAC has taken the lead, with assistance from member groups and help from the National Organic Coalition, to mobilize support from House and Senate Members to ensure…”?

    I think not. Rather, it appears to me that NSAC has “thrown in the towel.”

  2. awitteman says:

    Thanks for your response, Harry, and for looking at our website so closely!

    As you’ll see, Food Safety legislation is listed as a priority of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s in 2010. We’ve been trying to put food safety updates on our website and blog as much as we can given our current staff capacity. You’ve probably noticed that we have many, many other priorities — food safety is just one of them, though we’ve been spending a large amount of relative time on food safety since last July. We continue to work hard on amendments to S 510 with NSAC member input and working in coordination with Senate offices.

    If you want to be heard in NSAC, I encourage you to become an active member of one of our 83 member organizations: https://sustainableagriculture.net/about-us/members/ We have a very democratic process for setting priorities — all Represented Members discuss and vote on those priorities each year. Thanks!