Task Force on Agriculture Agenda and Presentations | 2015 NCSL Capitol Forum


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The Agriculture Task Force helps to develop NCSL agriculture policy; study critical agriculture and rural development issues facing the states; explore policy options to address these concerns; and serve as a conduit for state legislative communication with Congress, the White House, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and other federal agencies. The Agriculture Task Force met Dec. in Washington, D.C., at the NCSL Capitol Forum. 


Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015

The Agriculture Economy and its Impact on Foreign Trade

With the recent passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, join a discussion with officials from the office of the United States Trade Representatives and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on the role of the agriculture industry in supporting United States foreign trade.


  • Phil Karsting, administrator, Foreign Agricultural Service USDA | No Presentation
  • Ambassador Darci Vetter, chief agricultural negotiator, United States Trade Representative | No Presentation

Harvesting Healthier Options: State Legislative Trends in Local Foods

NCSL is releasing a new report on local food systems and recent state legislative activity from 2012-2014. Legislatures continue to enact policies that aid farmers and ranchers in getting their products to schools, stores and other institutions, as well as options that encourage community based food production. The report examines legislative trends related to farmers’ markets, food hubs, farm to school and other local food policy options. 


  • Karen Banks, Center for a Livable Future, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health | No Presentation
  • Gus Schumacher, vice president, Wholesome Wave | Presentation
  • Natalie Talis, policy associate, National Farm to School Network | Presentation

Federal Support for State Biofuel Efforts

Following USDA’s recent $100 million in grants to 21 states as part of the Biofuel Infrastructure partnership, hear from USDA about the role this program plays in supporting state economies and the agriculture industry.


  • Trevor Reuschel, acting deputy assistant secretary, Office of Congressional Relations, USDA | Presentation

Reforming Federal Regulations of GMOs

With USDA, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Food and Drug Administration all playing a part in regulating how GMOs are licensed within the United States, take part in a moderated discussion to learn about changes being considered to the process with officials from all three agencies.


  • William Jordan, deputy director, Office of Pesticide Programs, U.S. EPA | Presentation
  • Janet Bucknall, associate deputy administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA | Presentation

EPA Briefing and Tour of One Eight Distilling

The Ag Task Force traveled to EPA headquarters and received a briefing from top EPA staff, including Ron Carlton, agricultural adviser to the administrator. The briefing covered critical issues to the agriculture community including the Renewable Fuel Standard, the Waters of the United States regulation and more.

Immediately following the session the group ended the day with a tour of a local distillery which uses locally grown grain to highlight a new sector of growth for Washington, D.C.’s urban agriculture economy.