Alliance Helps Rural Legislators Understand Challenges Facing Agriculture
January 20, 2011 - Last week, Animal Agriculture Alliance Executive Vice President Kay Johnson Smith warned elected agriculture and rural leaders from across North America about the threats to animal agriculture at the 10th Annual State Legislative Agriculture Chairs Summit, held in Fort McDowell, Ariz.
Johnson Smith served on a panel to discuss the biggest challenges facing the food industry and opportunities for rural leaders to protect agriculture in their states. Legislators from 46 states and seven Canadian provinces attended the event to identify and craft solutions for some of the top issues facing rural areas. The event is coordinated by the State Agriculture and Rural Leaders Association.
“I feel honored to represent the Alliance at this event,” Johnson Smith said. “Rural communities are facing many challenges today, including threats to agriculture’s future by activist groups. Ensuring an open dialogue between those involved in food production and our elected officials is absolutely critical.”
Johnson Smith’s presentation focused on the need for farm security and the threat that undercover activists pose to our food supply. She also explained the potential negative effect that ballot initiatives such as Missouri’s Proposition B could have on the agriculture industry.
The Alliance has been a sponsor of the conference for the past three years, providing educational resources for state legislators on the agriculture industry’s hot button issues. Johnson Smith has participated as a speaker several times since 2006.
“The Ag Chairs Summit is a unique opportunity for legislators to gain knowledge about agricultural issues, engage with experts, and learn from one another,” Johnson Smith said. “By serving as a sponsor, the Alliance is able to find better ways to assist legislators with resources that will help them make informed policy decisions.”
The three-day Ag Chairs Summit included tours of Shamrock Farms Dairy and Queens Creek Olive Mill, as well as conference sessions focused on topics including agriculture business, economic development, nutrition programs, antibiotic use in livestock production, food safety, and sustainability.
The next Ag Chairs Summit will be held in Washington, D.C. in 2012 and will focus on Farm Bill reauthorization.
About the Alliance:
The Animal Agriculture Alliance, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is a broad-based coalition of individual farmers, ranchers, producer organizations, suppliers, packer-processors, scientists, veterinarians, and retailers. The Alliance's mission is to communicate the importance of animal agriculture to our nation's economy, productivity, vitality, and security. The Alliance shows how animal well-being is central to producing safe, high-quality, affordable food and other products essential to our daily lives.