Ag directors strengthen commitments to support local communities


Ag directors strengthen commitments to support local communities

Ag directors surrounding the Great Lakes are continuing efforts to work together.

Michigan’s Gary McDowell tells Brownfield the pandemic enhanced relationships for state ag department leaders to work across borders during a time of unknown.

“When we work together as 50 states, we have a much stronger effort than every state trying to go alone—especially with something like an invasive species or disease,” he says.

McDowell says he and directors in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin have continued to meet monthly and work together through social meeting campaigns to encourage action important in all states like COVID-19 vaccinations and supporting local farmers. 

This week’s National Association of State Department’s of Agriculture’s annual conference McDowell says set the groundwork for other priority areas.

“We talked about broadband a lot, but just strengthening our local communities any way we can—educational opportunities, infrastructure, to work with our farmers,” he says.

Ag leaders this week also voted to support the free flow of interstate trade, promote agriculture workforce reform, emergency food supply networks, and the hemp industry among other action items.

McDowell says in Michigan, the department plans to accelerate efforts to increase ag exports as well as processing to help farmers remain prosperous.