Repeated calls from CropLife America, along with other agriculture allies, have been successful in helping restore the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) chemical usage survey. What does this mean for the industry?
On June 11, the House Agriculture Appropriations Sub-Committee voted to provide $5.75 million for the program for Fiscal Year 2010. Budget limitations had forced USDA to discontinue the collection of data in fiscal year 2008. Previously, NASS had annually collected and published Chemical Usage Surveys on the use of crop protection chemicals and fertilizer use in U.S. agriculture, information relied upon by regulatory agencies, commodity; and producer organizations alike to determine chemical use trends nationwide.
“CropLife and its allies in agriculture have strongly urged USDA to restore NASS’s capacity to provide regular and frequent reports on the use of crop protection chemicals in U.S. agriculture,” says Jay Vroom, CLA president and CEO. “We’re pleased to see the reinstatement of the much-needed NASS survey system, a program that represents the interests of agriculture and the American farmer by providing accurate, timely crop protection product use information.”
The earlier decision to discontinue usage surveys left growers, policy makers, and the general public to speculate on the amount of and trends in use among chemicals and fertilizer. The alternative would be to outsource data collection to high-cost, private, proprietary data services ensuring a restricted view of agricultural chemical use.
“Reinstating the chemical usage surveys dramatically benefits both USDA and American farmers’ ability to serve the interests of agriculture. This critical program provides the only source of publicly available data regarding crop protection and fertilizer use — objective and reliable synopses critical to making sound policy decisions regarding chemical trends,” says Beau Greenwood, CropLife America executive vice president for government relations and public affairs.