FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles was elected vice president of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture on Wednesday during its annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
NASDA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit association that represents the elected and appointed commissioners, secretaries, and directors of the departments of agriculture in all 50 states and four U.S. territories.
Quarles is the first Kentucky agriculture commissioner to hold office in the farm group since Billy Ray Smith served as president of the national organization in 2001-2002. Quarles was NASDA’s second vice president in 2018-2019 and secretary-treasurer in 2017-2018. He was also elected 2019-2020 president of the Southern Association of State Departments of Agriculture, a regional offshoot of NASDA, in June.
He says the state can benefit from his position in the national group. “Policymakers at the federal and state levels will address trade, low commodity prices, the growth of the hemp industry, and many other issues that will affect farmers and agribusinesses for years to come. As Kentucky’s commissioner of agriculture and vice president of NASDA, I will consistently fight for Kentucky’s agricultural interests and for those of our nation.”
Ratifying the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement is vital to Agriculture, in Kentucky and nationwide, Quarles said. “The deal makes good sense, and I urge Congress to move swiftly to adopt it. We also need to seek new markets, using the greatest selling point of American agriculture: that our farm families produce the safest, most abundant food supply in the world.”
He was elected Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner in November 2015 and is seeking election to a second term in November. Prior to that, he was in the General Assembly for five years, before resigning to assume his current post. Quarles’ family has lived and farmed in central Kentucky for more than 200 years.