Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine Michael Taylor will be one of many agricultural leaders to be addressing the sixth convention of the New England Farmers Union, Gearing Up for Success, on November 6 to 8 at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord, NH.
Taylor will give Farmers Union members and guests an update on the Food Safety Modernization Act, sweeping legislation that overhauled the nation’s food safety laws and put responsibility for compliance in the hands of the FDA. Many farmers will have to modify their practices and procedures to comply with the new regulations. New England Farmers Union was a leading voice in advocating for changes to the regulations to minimize its impact to family farmers. Taylor will speak the morning of November 7.
New England Farmers Union will also welcome National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson. NFU, the nation’s second-largest general agriculture organization with roughly 200,000 members, has been advocating for family farmers since 1902. Johnson will give an update on federal agriculture policy on the morning of November 7.
A full slate of panel sessions Saturday afternoon includes a talk on accessing local and regional food systems, featuring Elanor Starmer, USDA’s National Coordinator and Advisor for Local and Regional Food Systems. David Hollinger, Director of the Northeast Climate Hub, will lead a discussion on how climate change is expected to impact family farmers. That evening, New Hampshire’s Commissioner of Agriculture, Markets, and Food, Lorraine Merrill, will welcome attendees at a dinner made with locally sourced ingredients.
On November 8, Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster of the Second Congressional District of New Hampshire and a member of the House Agriculture Committee, will participate in a panel discussion on the New England priorities for the next farm bill. Then, members will gather to discuss, debate, and vote on a new policy book, which guides the work of the New England Farmers Union in the coming year.