Domestic marketing and promotion of agricultural products will become increasingly important for agricultural producers as global trade increases. NASDA believes regulation of marketing and promotional arrangements are only appropriate when they do not hinder commerce.
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Structural Change and Concentration
NASDA believes federal policy should protect producers in production and marketing contract negotiations against issues such as fraud, retribution, and unreasonable confidentiality clauses, as well as providing for plain language review, protecting the right to litigate, providing fair price discovery, and granting a limited time to review a contract. Moreover, certified farmer cooperatives should have the protected right to negotiate contract terms on behalf of their members.
NASDA believes federal policy that requires packers and processors to report market prices for cattle, swine, lamb, and products from such livestock should be maintained to ensure producers have access to fair, accurate and complete market information.
Advances in technology have made production information collected at the farm level a commodity in itself. NASDA supports:
The USDA has administered the federal orders, as required by the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act, and has balanced the interests of dairy farmers with those of processors and consumers. NASDA encourages USDA to review and broaden the petitioning process while also expediting the formal hearing process.
NASDA believes that while changes may be appropriate, they should be undertaken only after careful consideration of their long-term impact. Continuation and reform of the federal milk marketing order system should be considered with continued interest in the benefit of producers, processors, and consumers, as well as meeting the objective of maintaining an orderly supply of milk.
NASDA believes that states should have the flexibility to create multi-state marketing agreements in order to enhance farm prices within their borders. Such authority would not be intended to permit states to erect trade barriers nor distort market conditions in any other geographical area.
NASDA believes that the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) provides an important mechanism for resolving disputes.
NASDA recognizes the vital work performed by FDA in the areas of food and drug safety, especially in light of threats to the integrity of our food production, distribution, and preparation systems. NASDA believes expansion of the FDA’s duties and jurisdiction into the area of tobacco product regulations should be based on scientific data. . NASDA encourages the use of good agricultural practices (GAP) as adopted by growers and the buying industry for growing and curing raw tobacco at the farm level. Cornerstones of the Tobacco GAP program include agricultural practices which produce a quality crop while protecting, sustaining or enhancing the environment with regard to soil, water, air, animal and plant life as well as protecting and ensuring the rights of farm laborers. NASDA believes that any imported leaf and tobacco products should be held to the same standards as domestically grown leaf or manufactured tobacco products.
Regulation and Classification of Tobacco
Tobacco remains vital to the economy and social fabric of tobacco growing states by providing jobs and income for thousands of farm families in addition to generating billions of dollars annually in federal, state, and local tax revenues. Federal tax revenues go directly to the general fund of the United States. Cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco products (chewing tobacco and snuff) and electronic cigarettes remain legal products. There is unanimous agreement that children should not use tobacco products, and every state in the Union has laws that prohibit the sale of tobacco products to minors.
NASDA requests that USDA, Risk Management Agency (RMA) treat all states equally in setting price elections for tobacco at levels which offer adequate risk protection and take into consideration the true cost of production for each type of tobacco. We encourage RMA to set appropriate levels of insurance coverage to reflect the true market price of each type of tobacco sold at market. We also request that RMA treat tobacco similarly to all other fully covered and insured crops. Furthermore, we support stricter enforcement of rules necessary to prevent fraud and abuse of the Federal Crop Insurance Program.
NASDA supports efforts of tobacco leaf dealers and manufacturers to continue offering full production multi-year contracts to tobacco producers that cover costs of production and adequately compensate tobacco producers with a fair profit. We recommend that no new laws or regulations be created that would hinder the current system of marketing leaf tobacco.
NASDA recognizes the significant positive economic impact that domestically produced leaf tobacco exports have on farm economies and related agribusiness. We request that U.S. government regulations do not hinder these efforts. We further request that USDA, Foreign Agricultural Service, not discriminate against tobacco, but treat tobacco as any other crop that receives export assistance. Trade agreements should treat tobacco products and tobacco companies equal to other commodities.
Federal Excise Taxes
NASDA supports the intent of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. However, NASDA opposes the use of increased federal excise taxes on tobacco products to fund federal health insurance programs, and believes more equitable funding options should be used. Such taxes will likely not meet the revenue targets they were originally designed to supply and will certainly have a negative impact on employment, farm preservation and agribusiness development in states whose economies are supported by tobacco production and manufacturing.
State/Federal Memorandums of Understandings
Federal and State Inspection of Peanuts
NASDA supports the continuation of Federal-State Inspection Services official inspection and grading of all peanuts produced and marketed in the U.S.
Federal State Shipping Point Inspection Program
NASDA recognizes the need for funding the standardization and development of programs that respond to produce industry needs within the Federal State Shipping Point Inspection Program. The Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS) Fresh Products Branch provides the services of standardization and oversight of the cooperating states. The Fresh Products Branch and cooperating states are implementing automated systems to standardize the inspection program nationally and programs such as Good Handling Practices, Good Agricultural Practices and Identity Preservation are being developed to address national food security concerns. Many of the cooperating states have experienced significant reduction in agricultural revenues resulting in a reduction in revenues to the Fresh Product Branch to administer and develop programs that respond to changing industry requirements. Any additional assessments of overhead charges to the state cooperators will be passed on through fee increases to the produce industry because of to new shipping and handling requirements that address national food security concerns.
NASDA is committed to working with AMS’s Fresh Products Branch to secure funding from Congress to support the services of standardization and program development and implementation.
NASDA supports check off programs and their role in promoting farm products in a generic, but fair and equitable manner.
Any changes or adjustments to national checkoff programs must comply with the intent and spirit of the controlling legislation, ensure programs are fair and easy to administer, maximize state level involvement, and are developed and implemented with input and support from the state departments of agriculture.
The Federal Seed Act (FSA) (7 U.S.C. 1551 1611) is a truth-in-labeling law that regulates the labeling of seed in interstate commerce. The label must contain information on origin, purity, germination, chemical treatment and noxious weeds as well as the lot identity number, the date of test, and the labeler’s name and address or AMS number.
Interstate seed shippers are required to keep receiving and shipping records that include documentation for each seed lot they ship in interstate commerce (7 CFR 201.7). Currently, the records are not being routinely examined for origin verification, allowing violations to go undetected. Origin violations are usually uncovered only during a record examination pertaining to other labeling violations such as purity, germination and noxious weed seed content. Inaccurate origin labeling can result in seed dealers and farmers purchasing seed that is not adapted for the area of intended use, or purchasing seed that is of inferior quality than represented on the label.
NASDA encourages the increased investigation of origin labeling of seed shipped in interstate commerce. Investigation needs to be supported by both state seed inspectors, state directors of agriculture, and federal Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) officials. Vigorous enforcement of the origin labeling provisions of the Federal Seed Act will help to ensure that farmers have the ability to purchase seed that is adapted for the area of intended use and have the assurance that the seed they are purchasing is of represented quality.
Organic Markets and Marketing
NASDA supports efforts to increase the economic growth of the organic industry through the following:
(Added February 2014)
NASDA supports the rights of state governments to establish statutes, regulations or policies regarding the production or manufacture of agriculture products, as those products are defined in Section 207 of the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946. These statutes, regulations or policies must be constructed in such a way as to allow for the free flow of interstate trade that is afforded by the Commerce Clause of the Constitution of the United States of America.
Added January 2017
Food labeling required by federal law for the purpose of disclosing ingredients, allergens, and nutritional value of food products should provide accurate, science-based information to consumers. Such requirements should not prejudice particular agricultural commodities or practices.
Additionally, terms or claims used (print, electronic, or otherwise) to market food products should be accurate, and should not mislead or misdirect consumers, or prejudice particular agricultural commodities or practices.