MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) Secretary Randy Romanski attended the 2024 National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) Winter Policy Conference in Washington D.C. from Feb. 5-7, 2024. While there, he co-sponsored an action item for NASDA to urge USDA and Congress to appropriately fund state meat inspection programs to ensure a healthy and robust meat supply.
“Wisconsin’s livestock farmers rely on the availability of state-inspected meat processing facilities, and in recent years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service has been providing states significantly less funding,” said Secretary Romanski. “This reduction in federal funding has the potential to impact state services and the meat processing industry.”
Federal funding is a critical part of the Farm Bill, and NASDA members continue to amplify the need for an updated, unified 2024 Farm Bill. NASDA recognizes the need for the 2024 Farm Bill for American agriculture and for those who rely on food and nutritional assistance programs.
“Wisconsin agriculture depends on the Farm Bill to strengthen conservation and climate resilience efforts, ensure a food safety supply, and develop local food systems,” added Romanski. “The Farm Bill provides important funding to invest in agriculture research, respond to animal disease, and promote international trade.”
Romanski is an active member of the Food Export Association of the Midwest USA (Food Export-Midwest), which held its Board of Directors meeting at the 2024 NASDA Winter Policy Conference. He currently serves as Secretary/Treasurer of the organization and this week was reelected to serve in that post.
“Wisconsin is committed to increasing the export of our agricultural goods around the world through the state-funded Wisconsin Initiative for Agricultural Exports,” explained Romanski. “I am pleased we are able to leverage NASDA and Food Export-Midwest funding, resources, and connections to further our reach globally, which ultimately benefits Wisconsin farmers and agribusinesses.”
Throughout the conference, NASDA members discussed numerous topics impacting the country’s agricultural industry including workforce. The agenda included a workforce pipeline panel, and there were several policy amendments approved to provide technical assistance and financial support to farmers.
“In Wisconsin, our farms and agribusinesses count on a strong, reliable workforce to thrive,” concluded Romanski. “We continue to share with young people in our state about the numerous career opportunities available in agriculture and work alongside industry partners to develop ideas to bolster our agricultural education and workforce training.”
NASDA is a nonpartisan association including all 50 states and four territories. During the Winter Policy Conference, the regional organization, the Midwestern Association of State Departments of Agriculture(MASDA), also met to collaborate on issues related to the region. Romanski also serves as Secretary/Treasurer of MASDA.
To learn more about NASDA, visit https://www.nasda.org/.
— Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection