SLC Agriculture & Rural Development Committee

The oldest of the standing committees, the Agriculture & Rural Development Committee’s agenda focuses on issues critical to the future of farming and farm communities. As the "engine of the economy," agriculture constitutes a vital sector of the economies of most Southern states. A principal focus of the Committee's work centers on rural development and rural communities, convening a series of sessions that investigates the differences (and surprising similarities) between rural and urban America and how to begin to bridge the divides between these communities.

Recent Committee initiatives include rural housing, ag education, updates on international trade and agriculture, consolidation in the farm sector, state actions on animal welfare, and conservation and farm land preservation. Other issues in which the Committee has long-standing interest include the status of the rural South, and food safety and security. The Committee has focused on the changing face of agriculture across America and conditions in the rural South. Additionally, the Committee works annually with public and private agencies, local and federal officials, and the land grant university system to assure the continued vitality of the region’s farm and rural communities.


Daniel B. Verdin III

South Carolina

Vice Chair

Casey Murdock


Past Chair

Andy Anders



Anne Roberts Brody

Roberts Brody

Policy Analyst

Recent Research

Webinar | June 14, 2017

Recent Developments in Agriculture and Food Law: Impacts on the States

Anne Roberts Brody

Agriculture and food law at the local, state and national level is changing constantly, with impacts to farmers, foresters, food producers, and rural residents. Since January, significant legal developments impacting rural and agricultural policy have emerged, including: repeal of the Clean Water Rule, state “purple paint” legislation, property tax assessment for farmland, and organic practice rules. This webinar examined the implications of these and other recent legal developments in agriculture and food policy.

This webinar was presented by the National Agricultural Law Center and the regional offices of The Council of State Governments.

Presenter: Harrison Pittman, Director, National Agricultural Law Center, Arkansas
Presentation: Archived Webinar | PowerPoint Slides

SLC Regional Resource | December 7, 2016

The Case for Cuba

Anne Roberts Brody

The impasse in U.S.-Cuba relations has spanned 10 U.S. presidents, a failed invasion attempt, a nuclear missile crisis and witnessed countless asylum seekers. The tumultuous relationship, which has its roots in the Cold War, is characterized by a dual-pronged U.S. policy emphasizing economic and diplomatic isolation of the island nation.

Despite ongoing economic sanctions, the United States has emerged as a major exporter of agricultural goods to Cuba, which imports up to 80 percent of its food. Given Cuba's geographic and economic position, states in the Southern region of the United States have competitive export advantages in terms of production, quality, logistics and proximity. This SLC Regional Resource examines existing and future agricultural export opportunities for member states in the Southern Legislative Conference.

Policy Analysis | September 14, 2016

What states export the most agricultural products to Cuba?

Anne Roberts Brody

Cuba, a nation of approximately 11 million people, is a food-insecure country, importing up to 80 percent of its food. The nation’s primary imports in 2015 included rice (14 percent), poultry (13 percent), dairy (12 percent), soy products (12 percent) and wheat (12 percent).

Agricultural exports to Cuba were authorized under the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000. Given Cuba’s economic and geographic position, Southern states have become leaders in agricultural exports to Cuba, comprising nine of the top 10 exporting states in 2015.

Reinforcing their dominant position, Southern states also are leaders in overall exports of Cuba’s most-imported agricultural products: rice and poultry. In 2014, four Southern states were among the top five rice-exporting states (Arkansas, at $809.3 million; California, at $644 million; Louisiana, at $258.9 million; Missouri, at $96.6 million; and Texas, at $92.8 million). Similarly, Southern states constituted all five of the top broiler-exporting states in 2014 (Georgia, at $596.3 million; Alabama, at $478 million; North Carolina, at $477.5 million; Arkansas, at $475 million; Mississippi, at $356.2 million; and Texas, at $280.5 million).

Top 20 States for Agricultural Exports to Cuba (2006-2015)

(ranking based on total agricultural exports in 2015)

U.S. State 2006 2009 Percent Change 2012 Percent Change 2015 Percent Change
Virginia 25,916 56,941 119.7% 65,613 15.2% 41,629 -36.6%
Georgia 16,767 42,528 153.6% 36,412 -14.4% 30,924 -15.1%
Florida 24,911 28,151 13.0% 68,358 142.8% 29,874 -56.3%

Continue Reading

More SLC Research into Agriculture

Webinar | October 3, 2014

Food Safety Modernization Act

Policy Analysis | September 17, 2014

Feral Hog Containment

Issue Alert | June 25, 2014

U.S. Agriculture Exports: Latest Trends

Policy Analysis | March 13, 2012

National Ag Day--March 8th

SLC Regional Resource | July 2, 2011

Food Safety: Building an Integrated System

Policy Analysis | October 25, 2010

Agricultural Land Assessments

SLC Regional Resource | June 1, 2006

2007 Farm Bill in Context (Summer 2006 Update)

SLC Regional Resource | April 1, 2006

Farm to School

SLC Regional Resource | July 1, 2005

2007 Farm Bill in Context

SLC Regional Resource | January 1, 2005

The Tobacco Buyout

SLC Regional Resource | September 1, 2002

Finally, the Farm Bill

SLC Special Series Report | February 1, 2002

Tobacco in Transition

SLC Regional Resource | July 1, 2001

Contracting in Tobacco

SLC Regional Resource | August 1, 2000

International Trade and Agriculture

SLC Regional Resource | March 1, 2000

Agriculture and Biotechnology