Strain Continues to Work Washington

By Don Molino, The Voice of Louisiana Agriculture Radio Network

Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Dr. Mike Strain met at the White House Tuesday with Scott Pruitt, the new administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

During his report on the Voice of Louisiana Agriculture Radio Network, the commissioner said one of the key discussions they had involved cooperative federalism, “which means the state and federal governments are co-equal partners in dealing with the different issues at the various federal agencies. Specifically the U.S. Department of Agriculture, EPA, Food and Drug Administration as well as others.”

According to Strain the states are charged with implementing many of the programs that are federal in nature such as dealing with pesticides and the Federal Insecticide and Rodenticide Act (or FIFRA Rule) as well as dealing with a lot of issues involving conservation.

Strain says he and Pruitt also talked about the Waters of the U.S. regulation and nutrient management and the plan to move forward on that issue.

“If a new rule is writing for clarification,” said Strain, “we need to be a part of that to make sure 1) that the states’ rights are protected and 2) that any new rule is clear and we can deal with it and it will not impeded trade and commerce.”

Dr. Strain also met with Ray Starling, the Special Assistant to the President for Agriculture, Agriculture Trade and Food Assistance as part of the national economic council.  The two talked about cooperative federalism but also had a very lengthy discussion on international trade including Cuba, the Trans Pacific Partnership, the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Central America Free Trade Agreement  and how “we have to move forward quickly on these trade agreements to make sure agriculture trade is not only protected but is also enhanced.”

And on the new farm bill, Strain—President of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture—said “The bottom line is the states have offered to help the administration as the new policies are crafted and we work to move agriculture, aquaculture, forestry, rural economic development and rural infrastructure forward as quickly and easily as possible.”