The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture recently finished up its annual meeting in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Blayne Arthur, Oklahoma’s Commissioner of Agriculture, was elected as the new president of the organization. She talked about what she learned while serving as vice president under previous president Doug Miyamoto of Wyoming.
“There’s probably a long list of those items that I’ve learned from Director Miyamoto, and I think certainly one of them is how diverse ag is in the United States. Every NASDA member brings a different perspective from their home state and what’s important to their farmers and ranchers. And so, working collaboratively together as a team and making sure all those voices are heard, I think Director Miyamoto did an exceptional job at that. There are states that have livestock strong state states, that may be crop strong states and making sure that everyone had a place at the table and a voice and that we can all collectively move forward together.”
She talks about her goals as the new president.
“I think one thing we want to certainly continue with is the momentum that we’ve seen here at NASDA. I’ve had the chance to have a unique lens at NASDA as a staff member and then serving as a secretary in Oklahoma. There’s certainly so much upward momentum as we become a great voice for agriculture here in the United States, certainly from a policy perspective, and RJ and his team, what they do engaging on important issues like the Farm Bill, that’s certainly top of mind to all of us. And so, I think as we look at goals, we want to continue this forward momentum and want to have NASDA be the voice that folks turn to when they have a question about agriculture and all those topics that fall under that umbrella. So, I think we’re in a really good place but want to continue with that momentum.”
NASDA CEO Ted McKinney talks about setting policy priorities at the annual meeting.
“The first observation in policy is, again, how unique this organization is, though some elected, some appointed, that there’s generally a coming together and usually fairly quickly, on consensus views on agriculture. I think of the policy decisions that we made, all passed unanimously, all came from different committees, and so, I think it’s a powerful statement that NASDA can discuss policy and even difficult issues and yet still come together, and I think we saw that affirmed.
McKinney says it’s important to remember how diverse American agriculture truly is.
“But it’s so important for every member of our organization, whether it’s a secretary, Director, commissioner, or their staff, to see the diversity of U.S. agriculture, and we’ve seen and we’ve heard that. And that’s so important because there are differences, and you’ve got to work through those differences.”