Local Official To Help Form National Agriculture Policy  

Representative Kenton n Legislative Hall
Representative Kenton n Legislative Hall

Staff Report

Giving eleven Northeastern states a voice in fashioning the national laws and policies that impact local farms is the mission of a group that is adding a Milford-area official to its select membership. State Rep. Harvey Kenton, R-Milford, has been selected to join the Council of State Governments’ Eastern Regional Conference’s Northeast States Association for Agriculture Stewardship (NSAAS).  The group was created 14 years ago to impact the formation of federal agricultural policy.  Since then its role has grown to include the promotion of successful innovations, solving problems across state lines, and forecasting farm policy trends in the Northeast. Representative Kenton, whose 36th District is largely agricultural, will serve on the group for the rest of this year and through 2014.

“Our farms in northeast Sussex County face many of the same challenges as farms elsewhere in the region,” Representative Kenton said.  “While every state has its own laws, it’s the federal government that really affects much of what happens on the farm, especially in the form of the omnibus Farm Bill that is being debated in Congress right now.   It impacts everything from where Delaware chickens are sold overseas to environmental protection and subsidy programs.  On our own local farmers might have a hard time being heard in D.C., but when 11 states speak together with one voice ears start to perk up.”

Representative Kenton was selected to the NSAAS based on his pervious agribusiness experience and his service on the Delaware House of Representatives’ Agricultural Committee.

“Because farmers in this region have so much in common, innovative ideas that have proven successful in other Northeast states would likely be viable here,” Rep. Kenton said.   “As a part of the NSAAS, I can share ideas and insights with my counterparts and bring the best practices I find back to my Sussex County constituents.”

The Milford area is unusually well-represented on the multi-state committee.  State Senator Gary Simpson, R-Milford, already serves as the NSAAS vice-chairman. Formed in 1937, the Council of State Governments Eastern Regional Conference (CSG/ERC) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization currently serving legislative, executive and judicial branch officials in 11 Northeastern states, as well as the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and five Eastern Canadian provinces.  Its policy staff supports nine areas of special concern to the region: agriculture, criminal justice, economic development, education, energy and environment, fiscal affairs, health care, transportation and US-Canada relations.