From the office of Sen. Barry Glassman:
Senator Glassman took to Capital Hill with agriculture and rural leaders from across North America as part of the 11th Annual Legislative Agriculture Chairs Summit.
During a visit to the White House he met with USDA Secretary Vilsack and key agriculture officials. USDA participants included Farm Services Agency Under Secretary Michael Scuse, Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development, Doug O’Brien, Elisabeth Hagen, Under Secretary for Food Safety, Dr. Cathie Woteki the Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics and Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, David White.
While at the White House he also discussed the future of international agricultural trade with U.S. Trade Representative for Agriculture, Dr. Issi Siddiqui and pending U.S. Environmental Protection Agency agriculture regulations with Larry Elworth.
During a visit to the Congress he participated in briefings on the farm bill from congressional staff from the agriculture and energy committees.
Senator Glassman said the meetings provided great information to guide his legislation for the 2012 Session. Glassman will be introducing measures to curb additional regulations for Maryland farms until nearby states begin to catch up to Maryland farmers’ results in reduced nitrogen run-off. He will also be exploring the concept of TMDL trading programs where urban areas would pay farmers for TMDL credits.
The Legislative Agriculture Chairs Summit attendees also met with policy experts and discussed current issues affecting agriculture at both the state and national level. State legislative leadership from 47 states and 7 Canadian provinces participated in sessions that not only identified the issues facing rural communities but also solution that have been successfully implemented.
Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman opened the summit focusing on the importance of agriculture and its role in providing Nebraska with an unemployment level of 4.1 percent. Agriculture is on the few sectors in the U.S. running a positive balance of trade and the Summit provided state legislators with the tools they need to help grow rural communities and keep agriculture profitable. Other sessions focused on such issues as rural energy, invasive species, food safety and farmland taxation.