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(Revised September 2015)
NASDA recognizes the vital link between agriculture and rural communities. Agriculture and rural policy must be designed to reflect and reinforce the dynamic interface occurring among farming, agriculture and rural America. To support this dynamic, NASDA recognizes the need for flexible policy that helps support and cultivate rural economies.
NASDA support)s substantially increasing investments in rural communities to drive economic growth, entrepreneurship and innovation, and improve rural life. Retaining agricultural and rural youth in next generation businesses, attracting new capital and new business, and maintaining profitable agriculture must be a priority of rural development and agricultural policy.
NASDA supports rural development programs and acknowledges their role in providing funding and assistance for rural businesses and communities. Rural development programs should encourage growth within these communities and help stem the loss of business within rural America.
NASDA recognizes the powerful economic contributions of agricultural and other cooperatives in the United States. Producers traditionally look to expand their market share through exports, but they also realize there is an opportunity to increase their market access through value-added processing. Strategies to increase market share through value-added processing include cooperative and other business ventures focused on agricultural processing, farmer-owned cooperatives, and marketing the value of “high-end” crops and livestock.
Effective agricultural policy must be based on accurate and objective data that describe the structure and operation of agricultural enterprises and measure their economic health. Proper data is needed both to administer programs and measure their performance. Data requirements need to be developed in parallel with policy.
NASDA recommends that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection provide individual states with data on plant, animal and food entries into states to enhance states’ ability to prevent introduction of harmful plant and animal pests and diseases.
NASDA strongly supports K-12 agricultural education programs. State departments of agriculture should support various efforts to develop and implement agricultural education programs which are focused on public awareness and leadership.
Historically, agriculture has provided food and fiber to America. Now, with the development of new biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel, and greater commercial interest in wind and solar energy; America’s farms and ranches are increasingly seen as a promising source of clean, renewable, home-grown energy. Producers are also downstream energy users and rely on stable energy prices for stable profit margins. These linkages show the ever growing relationship between agriculture and energy.