NASDA Policy Statements

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11. Domestic Marketing and Promotion
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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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11.1.  Marketing Integrity

Structural Change and Concentration

  • NASDA believes the federal government has failed to enforce federal antitrust statutes such as the Sherman Act and the Clayton Act to prevent consolidation. Current antitrust laws, including those applied to packers and stockyards, should be more stringently enforced and that such enforcement is necessary to achieve a beneficial end for producers, food retailers, and consumers.
  • NASDA believes the USDA, the Department of Justice, and the Federal Trade Commission, directed by Congress, all have an obligation to understand the changing business dynamic in food delivery today and ensure that marketplace trade practices remain fair.
  • NASDA supports the accurate reporting of all imports and exports of live animals as well as all meat and meat products. The reports need to include prices paid, volume information, and destination (for exports), and should be timely and accurate.

Price Discovery

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.

Technology

Advances in technology have made production information collected at the farm level a commodity in itself. NASDA supports:

  • The protection of data collected for/from/or by farming and agricultural operations, and believes proprietary data should remain the property of the farmer or rancher to be shared with whomever he/she chooses.
  • Requiring those who provide services in collecting proprietary data to fully disclose to the producer the intended use of the information.

 

11.2.  Federal Milk Marketing Orders

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.

11.3.  Regional Marketing Agreements

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.

11.4.  Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act

NASDA believes that the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) provides an important mechanism for resolving disputes.

11.5.  Tobacco

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.

Crop Insurance

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.

Marketing

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.

Exports

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.

11.6.  Federal-State Marketing Programs

NASDA believes:

  • Federal-state marketing programs should be continued and expanded where feasible.
  • The Secretary should take a strong position in defining the concept and use of federal marketing orders based on the original concept of marketing orders as designated in the 1937 Act.
  • The Secretary should enforce these uses and if they are being abused take aggressive action to correct any abuses.
  • The Federal State Market Improvement Program (FSMIP) should be continued and market oriented demonstration projects prioritized.

State/Federal Memorandums of Understandings

NASDA believes:

  • State/Federal Memorandums of Understanding's (MOU) for certifying fresh and processed products for "quality and condition" in both domestic and export markets should be incorporated into current MOU's with APHIS to inspect and issue federal phytosanitary certificates. Certification for quality and condition is the responsibility of the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).
  • All domestic marketing initiatives should address the feasibility of moving into international markets.

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.

11.7.  Check Off Programs for Generic Advertising

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.

11.8.  New Uses of Agricultural Products

NASDA supports:

  • Industrial and pharmaceutical uses for agricultural products as they offer U.S. farmers an opportunity for market growth. This includes the ongoing development of alternative fuels such as ethanol, biodiesel, and other biomass fuels.
  • Additional research to develop alternatives to traditional uses of agricultural products.
  • NASDA supports government policies for alternative fuel sources, focusing on the use of ethanol, biodiesel and biomass production.

Industrial Hemp

  • NASDA supports revisions to the federal rules and regulations authorizing commercial production of industrial hemp.
  • NASDA urges the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to collaboratively develop and adopt an official definition of industrial hemp that comports with definitions currently used by countries producing hemp.
  • NASDA also urges Congress to statutorily distinguish between industrial hemp and marijuana and to direct the DEA to revise its policies to allow USDA to establish a regulatory program that allows the development of domestic industrial hemp production by American farmers and manufacturers.

 

11.9.  Federal Seed Act Enforcement

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.

11.10.  Organic Agriculture
  • NASDA supports recommendations that enhance National Organic Standards (NOS) and the National Organic Program, (NOP) and efforts to increase growth of the organic industry. These efforts include, but are not limited to, increases in organic research and in the collection of organic production and market data. For purposes of trade,
  • NASDA supports the establishment of bi-lateral agreements on the equivalency of organic standards provided those standards are truly equivalent.
  • NASDA supports the following policies:
    • Congress should provide funding at levels to support adequate NOP staffing and activities that will accomplish regulatory intent of the NOP Final Rule;
    • Congress should direct funds to states to assist with implementation of the NOP, including consumer protection and local enforcement of standards;
    • Congress should provide permanent funding for Organic Certification Cost Share Assistance;
  • The Secretary of Agriculture should encourage and support cooperative relationships between the NOP and state departments of agriculture;
  • USDA should fully and consistently implement and enforce the National Organic Program Final Rule and its organic production and handling standards;
  • USDA should actively encourage cooperation between the NOP and experienced public and private certifying agencies when addressing the practical aspects of organic production and certification issues;
  • USDA should bring the NOP into compliance with the International Standards Organization (ISO) standards for accreditation bodies.

Organic Markets and Marketing

NASDA supports efforts to increase the economic growth of the organic industry through the following:

  • USDA should include “organic” as a defined commodity in USDA market promotion programs.
  • USDA should target marketing assistance to small, medium sized, and beginning organic growers to help them capitalize on the value of their production.
  • USDA should provide adequate funding for collection and distribution of domestic organic market price data by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), or through non-governmental organizations funded by cooperative agreements with AMS.
  • Congress should encourage cooperation among federal agencies and entities such as the Department of Commerce, Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. International Trade Commission, in order to code and track organic import and export sales.
  • USDA should pursue efforts to reform the premiums and price elections in federal crop insurance programs in order to render participation more equitable for certified organic producers.
     
11.11.  Specialty Crops
  • NASDA supports the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBG) as an effective collaboration between state departments of agriculture, the specialty crop industry, and USDA.
  • NASDA believes the SCBG program must be flexible and state-driven in order to be nimble, locally responsive, and efficient.
  • NASDA supports full funding of the (SCBG) program as authorized.
  • NASDA supports additional crop insurance resources for specialty crop farmers.
  • NASDA supports the inclusion of specialty crop farmers in conservation programs.
  • State block grants should be directed towards state departments of agriculture and used (1) to strengthen state-led efforts to promote the marketing and consumption of specialty crop products; (2) to strengthen state-led efforts to promote investments in specialty crop research; and (3) enhance food safety of specialty crop products.
11.12.  Establishment of Production Standards

(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.

11.13.  Labeling and Marketing Claims

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.

Document Date: September 19, 2017
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