Sharing Ag’s Spirit Of Cooperation

Is anyone else as sick to death with the lack of cooperation coming out of Washington, DC, these days as me? For many weeks now, the news (be it broadcast, print or digital) has been dominated by the ongoing inability of lawmakers representing the Democrat and Republican parties to come to some kind of agreement regarding the so-called fiscal cliff. If no agreement is reached by the end of 2012, the fiscal cliff calls for automatic tax hikes and spending cuts to go into effect, which many analysts warn could easily push the nation back into a recession mode.

Despite this threat, Washington policymakers seem unwilling (or unable) to come to some kind of mutual agreement that, while not perfect for their particular party, will still be good for virtually everyone else involved (i.e., the American public). For market watchers, it’s a real head-scratcher.

It seems to me everyone in the nation’s capital could take a lesson or two in compromise from the world of agriculture. Not that long ago, Dow AgroSciences was at odds over its new 2,4-D tolerant crops with the Save Our Crops Coalition (SOCC). Through its members, SOCC was concerned that this new breed of crops would lead to increased 2,4-D usage across the U.S., potentially threatening all other crops in the process. In the first round of talks between these two entities, legal action was openly threatened.

Then, a funny thing happened on the way to the courtroom – the sides settled their differences. In September, both issued press releases describing how SOCC was amending its petitions against the 2,4-D tolerant crops with USDA and EPA while Dow AgroSciences requested an amendment to its label pending before EPA to include additional statements relating to herbicide applications near sensitive crops.

“Farmers have a long history of wanting to do the right thing for their crops, their land and their neighbors,” concluded both releases. “The willingness of industry segments to discuss and understand each other illustrates the spirit and commitment to success that is typical in American agriculture.”

Amen. Now if we could only this same point across on Capitol Hill . . .

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