By Dr. Whitney Miller, assistant director of the AVMA GRD
Members of the AVMA staff attended the 2012 Legislative Agricultural Chairs Summit and the State Agricultural Rural Leaders board meeting held recently in Washington, D.C.
The annual Legislative Agricultural Chairs Summit brings together U.S. state legislative chairs, agency and White House personnel, provincial ministers and elected officials to discuss agriculture issues. AVMA Governmental Relations Division assistant director, Dr. Whitney Miller, and policy analyst, Tara Southwell, representing the State Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Department in the Communications Division at headquarters attended the January summit. Opportunities for attendees included educational sessions on current federal policy, as well as discussions focused on national and global challenges in agriculture.
The summit is the only national conference for legislators where the major focus is agriculture and rural communities.
The goal of the State Agriculture and Rural Leaders (SARL) organization is to enhance rural leadership on a global scale. At the SARL meeting, AVMA heard from congressional staffers on issues such as the Farm Bill, Country of Origin Labeling, food safety and traceability. Staff also participated in discussions with U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Agriculture Counselor Larry Elsworth, U.S. Trade Representative Chief Agriculture negotiator Issi Siddiqui and others during a special briefing by White House staff.
The summit featured general and breakout sessions on topics such as meat inspection programs, animal welfare, invasive species and food safety programs. Hot topics led the legislative issues discussion which included the pending national layer hen legislation, horse slaughter, invasive species bills, and many more. The conference provided an exception open forum for a discussion of ideas and solutions to some of the many challenges facing agriculture.
For more information please contact wmilleravma [dot] org (Dr. Whitney Miller), assistant director, AVMA Governmental Relations Division.