Mission to Monterey, California, WASDA Annual General Meeting, July 21-24, 2008

Subscribe to our free E-Newsletter, "Agri-News" (formerly RTW This Week)Agri-News
This Week
 Final Trip Report

Purpose of travel:
To attend the annual general meeting at the Western Association of State Departments of Agriculture (WASDA).

WASDA is a multi-state organization under the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA). WASDA brings together the western United States (US) state departments of agriculture secretaries, commissioners, and directors to discuss areas of mutual interest and concern. Membership includes: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. Alberta and British Columbia are affiliate members and are invited to take part in the discussions.

Alberta’s attendance at the WASDA meeting provides us with the opportunity to meet with key agriculture decision makers from the western US. The meeting provides a forum to advance Alberta’s agriculture and agri-food interests, find areas of collaboration, and address any relevant issues.

At the meeting, Evan Berger, MLA, Livingstone-MacLeod, represented Honourable George Groeneveld, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Also in attendance, was Val Roddick, MLA, Delta South, who represented the Honourable Stan Hagen, British Columbia’s Minister of Agriculture and Lands.

Mission Objectives:

  • Exchange information and dispel misinformation on key agriculture issues;
  • Enhance Alberta’s profile and relationships with key US state decision makers;
  • Promote collaborative approaches to common problems and issues;
  • Find areas of cooperation with priority states;
  • Advocate for implementation of Country of Origin Labeling (COL) regulations that do not disrupt trade; and
  • Advocate for a World Trade Organization (WTO) outcome that significantly reduces trade distorting domestic subsidies and other trade barriers.

The agenda for the WASDA meeting included agriculture site visits, and a roundtable meeting. Key topics of discussion included: water conservation, water recycling, labour issues and immigration policies (partnership with Department of Corrections), traceability protocols, US state budget cuts, consumer agriculture education, invasive species eradication issues, potato cyst nematode, animal disease issues (brucellosis and tuberculosis), and the livestock crisis.

Bob Gore, Senior Deputy Cabinet Secretary, Office of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, provided a perspective on Los Angeles’ port activity constraints. Container shipping costs are expected to rise 45 percent due to rising fuel costs.

Over half of the consumer goods from the Far East enter via the Port of Los Angeles. Serious shortages of containers are disrupting effective delivery of goods.
  • Dr. Gale Buchanan, Under Secretary, Research, Education, Economics at the United States Department of Agriculture, provided his perspective on agriculture research and education challenges. Challenges he cited include: a safe energy supply, understanding global climate change, achieving an adequate and high quality water supply, and food security and safety.
  • California officials advised that Customs and Border Protection is moving away from Agriculture and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). California officials are requesting APHIS enhance their focus on invasive species.
  • Keynote dinner speakers included the Honourable Leon Panetta, past Chief of Staff to former President Bill Clinton. Mr. Panetta provided an overview of government process and public policy. Closing speaker, Dr. Christopher Delgado, Rural Strategy and Policy Advisor with the World Bank, provided an economic overview of food versus fuel to developing countries.
  • Alberta agreed to share information with key states on: bio-mass, the Dine Alberta marketing initiative, the Federal Temporary Foreign Worker Program, the April 2009 Cross Border Livestock Health Conference, and the Legislative Agriculture Chairs Summit.

  • Provided an overview of the state of Alberta’s agriculture industry and the priority Alberta puts on our relationship with the US especially with WASDA states.
  • Extended an invitation to US officials for animal health experts to attend the Cross Border Livestock Health Conference in Banff, Alberta in 2009 presented in collaboration with Washington State.
  • Exchanged information on animal health issues including our enhanced animal health and food safety protocols.
  • Profiled the Ministry’s new Alberta Livestock and Meat Strategy.
  • Met with NASDA representatives, Idaho State Department of Agriculture, and New Mexico Department of Agriculture officials to discuss the approach for the upcoming 2008 Tri National Accord.
  • Advocated for COL implementation that does not impede two-way trade, and a WTO agreement that results in substantial cuts to tariffs and subsidies.
  • Encouraged BC to participate at future WASDA meetings to ensure western Canadian presence and profile.
  • Enhanced Alberta’s profile as a safe and secure energy source for US states.

Mr. Evan Berger, MLA, Livingstone-MacLeod
Ms. Annalisa Baer, Manager, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development
Share via AddThis.com
For more information about the content of this document, contact Annalisa Baer.
This document is maintained by Kelly Bernard.
This information published to the web on September 5, 2008.
Last Reviewed/Revised on March 23, 2017.