By Sam GO, Communications Director,
MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) Secretary Randy Romanski participated in the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) Annual Meeting in Cheyenne, Wyoming on September 10 – 13, 2023. While there, Romanski supported numerous policy amendments and action items that will benefit Wisconsin agriculture and served in leadership roles through the organization.
“The theme of this year’s annual meeting was ‘Old West, New Frontier,’ and, throughout the event, speakers recognized the strong agricultural traditions and the innovative advancements of the industry,” said Romanski. “The NASDA annual meeting is a unique opportunity for directors, commissioners, and secretaries of agriculture to come together to discuss common challenges and identify opportunities for collaboration.”
During the annual meeting, NASDA members passed three action items related to food labeling including the standard of identity for yogurt, labeling of plant-based milk alternative products, and labeling of human food products derived from cultured cells.
“Wisconsin is America’s Dairyland, and the future of the nation’s dairy industry deserves truth in labeling, including ensuring that the standard of identity for yogurt is reflective of current processing practices,” explained Romanski. “The standard of identity for milk needs to be enforced so consumers are aware of the nutritional content of milk versus other plant-based alternative beverages.”
The annual meeting also provides the opportunity for the NASDA membership to update its policy book. One approved policy amendment focused on increased federal investments in agriculture education, including funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to create agricultural literacy resources to expose students to agriculture-related jobs.
“The future of Wisconsin’s agriculture industry is dependent on our young people, and there needs to be adequate funding to offer quality agricultural education to our students in the classroom,” added Romanski. “We also need to ensure guidance counselors and teachers have the resources they need to promote the hundreds of career opportunities available in the agricultural industry.”
Romanski currently serves as Secretary/Treasurer of both the Midwestern Association of the State Departments of Agriculture (MASDA) and the Food Export Association of the Midwest USA. In these roles, he is an active member of the Boards contributing in discussions and presenting financial information.
“During this annual meeting, there were many conversations about the importance of a fully-funded, unified Farm bill for farmers and consumers,” concluded Romanski. “I will continue to work with my colleagues from across the country to advocate for Farm Bill priorities including funding for agricultural research, animal disease response, conservation programming, food safety, and trade promotion.”
NASDA is a nonpartisan association of all 50 states and four territories that works to influence policy that is beneficial for all regions, people and environments. For more information about NASDA, visit https://www.nasda.org/.