Members of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) met this week with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman, and USTR Chief Agricultural Negotiator Darci Vetter to discuss the importance of international trade for U.S. agriculture and rural America. The NASDA delegation was led by NASDA President and Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Mike Strain, D.V.M.
“Ninety-five percent of potential customers for American farmers and ranchers are beyond our borders. International trade is essential for a thriving agriculture and rural economy,” said Strain. “It is imperative that the U.S. is in the driver’s seat, leading the international trade agenda so that our producers can compete in the global food marketplace.”
“Multi-lateral trade agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, are critical to secure new market access for U.S. products and eliminate trade barriers,” said Strain. “NASDA appreciates Secretary Vilsack and Ambassador Froman’s leadership in recent years to advance U.S. agriculture in the international marketplace. We also look forward to working with the incoming Trump administration to determine a path forward on trade policies in order to enact agreements that ensure U.S. producers’ leadership and competiveness in the global economy.”
During the meeting NASDA members also highlighted the importance of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) for agriculture. Strain recently led the U.S. delegation at the Tri-National Agricultural Accord, NASDA’s annual summit with state and provincial counterparts from Mexico and Canada.
“We are committed to continuing to foster closer relationships with our NAFTA trading partners, especially via the Tri-National Accord, to advance both North American cooperation and the interests of U.S. producers.”
NASDA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit association which represents the elected and appointed commissioners, secretaries, and directors of the departments of agriculture in all fifty states and four U.S. territories.