North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring
North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring

The nation's leading state agriculture officials gathered at the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) Winter Policy Conference this past week to discuss agriculture issues including pollinators, mediation, rail transportation, trade with Cuba, food safety, antimicrobial resistance and agriculture literacy.

North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, introduced a policy amendment to support safeguarding the use of antimicrobials in animal agriculture by encouraging judicious use principles while providing outreach and education to practitioners, users, patients and the public.

Goehring pointed out that there are misconceptions about antibiotic use in animal agriculture, in fact animal agriculture is ahead of the curve due to quality assurance programs and best management practice models.

"This amendment encourages state departments of agriculture to support veterinary and public health communities as they continue to develop infection control practices," said Goehring.

NASDA members unanimously passed Goehring's policy amendment.

Pollinators and bee health were also identified by NASDA members as a top tier priority.  They passed an action item directing promotion and development of state managed pollinator plans to ensure a combined effort to mitigate risk and minimize impact to agricultural operations.

"We actively engaged agriculture stakeholders over two years ago to develop a pollinator plan to promote bee health and enhance communication in North Dakota," said Goehring. "This pollinator plan is being used as a model for other states."

North Dakota leads the nation in honey production and is home to 20% of the nation's bee colonies.

NASDA members also passed policy amendments on national commodity check off programs and agriculture mediation programs, additionally they passed action items on rail transportation, invasive species, trade with Cuba, national labeling of food derived from genetic engineering, Country of Origin Labeling (COOL), and agriculture in the classroom. 

NASDA is comprised of the commissioners, secretaries and directors of agriculture of the 50 states and four U.S. territories. To learn more about NASDA or ag policy discussions, please visit www.nasda.org.