A Critical Year For Modern Agriculture

America’s voters saw much action in the nation’s capital this past year, with an intense focus on health care and the economy, and a contentious mid-term election in which Democrats lost the House of Representatives. As we enter the New Year, the incoming 112th Congress must address many important issues in 2011.

A number of decisive items still stand at the forefront of the political debate and surely will continue to populate the Congressional calendar. However, issues such as chemical regulation and industry accountability, climate change and food safety are hot-button topics appearing on the docket with more frequency and increasingly gaining attention in the public’s eye. And in that realm, the crop protection industry sees areas of action in 2011, which will set precedent in modern agriculture for years to come.

As discussed last year, National Pollutant Discharge Eli­mination System (NPDES) permits still remain a pressing topic for our industry. CropLife America was disappointed in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to not review the 6th Circuit Court’s ruling that NPDES permits were required for four types of pesticide applications “to, over or near” waters of the U.S., per the Clean Water Act. We are closely involved in the creation of the final permit, to be issued in April, and working to ensure that modern agriculture’s voice is heard in this front. Even as the final permit is under creation and review, there are other items related to NPDES permitting that are worth consideration in the coming year.

The U.S. House and Senate have spoken out in support of agriculture and introduced three bills which aim to correct the 6th Circuit’s decision (S. 3735, H.R. 6087 and H.R. 6273), and re-establish primacy of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) over the Clean Water Act. All three bills would amend federal statute by stating that no federal permit is required to use pesticides that are applied in compliance with their FIFRA labels. CropLife America will continue to closely monitor this legislation in 2011 and work with lawmakers to pursue a permanent solution that preserves FIFRA primacy and restores regulatory certainty.

EPA released a proposed information collection request (ICR) in November estimating that the upcoming NPDES pesticide permit program will take over a million hours and cost more than $50 million a year to collect, report and evaluate information. While these numbers in EPA’s estimate look large in aggregate and on the surface, we believe that EPA has grossly underestimated the real cost of NPDES permitting. It suggests that, annually, it will take the estimated 365,000 permittees and 45 permitting authorities about 987,904 hours and 45,809 hours, and cost $50,109,969 and $1,740,754, respectively, to implement and comply with the permit.

Other Issues

The Endangered Species Act (ESA), and implementation of Biological Opinions (BiOps) issued by the Na­tional Marine Fisheries Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the Services), remains another “must-watch” issue in 2011. The ESA consultation process between EPA and the Services has proven itself to be broken. CropLife America supports an ESA consultation process that is time-certain and based on sound scientific principles. In addition to the many industry petitions filed in this matter over the course of the last year, we stand ready to work with all parties to develop a consultation process that responsibly re-establishes and implements the statutory requirements of ESA Section 7.

Another priority issue that will continue to occupy CropLife America and its membership is pesticide spray drift. EPA proposed in 2009 that spray drift labels include the phrase “do not apply this product in a manner that results in spray [or dust] drift that could cause an adverse effect to people or any other non-target organism.” Safety risk factors already built into the existing label language protect against adverse affects from spray drift and the proposed language from EPA is laden with the precautionary principle. In order to avoid unreasonable burdens and unpredictable litigation, CropLife America believes that input from stakeholders should be sought to craft a realistic policy that integrates use of drift-reduction technologies and remains consistent with FIFRA standards. While EPA has acknowledged the need to re-evaluate their proposals, this issue remains unresolved and requires attention.

And to add to a busy 2011, the new Congress will also begin consideration of reauthorizing the Pesticide Reauthorization Improvement Renew­al Act (PRIA), which expires in 2012. CropLife America supports PRIA as it improves the predictability and speed of the pesticide registration process, and works closely with the Industry Fees Coalition and EPA. However, we do caution that proposals for any additional registration and tolerance fees would negate PRIA’s intent of providing additional resources for EPA’s pesticide registration efforts and a more predictable evaluation process.

Yet even as CropLife America stands ready to address these issues in 2011, we also anticipate preliminary work in the writing of the 2012 Farm Bill. Legislators will begin to fully address the Farm Bill next year and these items all may very well play an important role in the shaping of agricultural policy for years to come. While examining short-term issues in agriculture we also need to look ahead to anticipate future challenges, ranging from climate change to rural community revitalization, in order to construct a comprehensive and effective Farm Bill. We plan on exploring this topic at our National Po­licy Conference.

Leave a Reply

Legislation Stories

Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsSyngenta: Keep Ag In Mind During Election Season
February 10, 2016
As presidential candidates stake out their 2016 election platforms and key priorities, growers and their business partners should seek opportunities Read More
Legvold Farm, Northfield, MN
LegislationASA Notes Progress, Urges EU To Improve Biotech Approval Process
January 29, 2016
The American Soybean Association (ASA) urged the European Commission today to continue its work in addressing delays in the approvals Read More
LegislationARA, TFI: Retailers Urged to Consider PSM Compliance
January 20, 2016
In December, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a revised Interim Enforcement Policy addressing enforcement of Process Safety Read More
United States Capitol Building in Washington D.C.
LegislationCongress Halts OSHA Overreach; Significant Victory For Ag Retailers
December 21, 2015
Congress just put the brakes on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s regulatory overreach. On July 22, OSHA released an Read More
Top 100 Articles
Elburn Cooperative
CropLife 100Elburn Cooperative Members Vote To Join CHS
December 28, 2015
With 81% of eligible producers voting, 94% cast an affirmative ballot for Elburn Cooperative, a diversified agricultural retailer based out Read More
West Central Cooperative, Jefferson, IA
CropLife 100Farmers Cooperative-West Central Merger Approved
December 21, 2015
The members of Farmers Cooperative Co. (FC), Ames, IA, and West Central Cooperative, Ralston, IA, have both approved the merger Read More
Wheat Growers Innovation Center, Bath, SD
CropLife 100Wheat Growers Opens Innovation Center
December 21, 2015
Wheat Growers’ commitment in providing its farmer-owners with the latest in technological advancements now has a one-of-a-kind focal point, as Read More
CropLife 100ARA Selects The Andersons As 2015 Retailer Of The Year
December 9, 2015
The Agricultural Retailers Association today named Maumee, OH-based The Andersons as its Retailer of the Year for 2015. The award Read More
CPS Washington Court House John Deere Sprayer
CropLife 100Application Equipment Report: It Is Easy Being Green For Top 100 Ag Retailers
December 5, 2015
On The Muppets television show, Kermit the Frog is famous for singing a song about the troubles he encounters in Read More
Fertilizer Bin
CropLife 100Fertilizer Sales: Another Down Year For Top 100 Ag Retailers
December 4, 2015
In pure number terms, the fertilizer category still dominates all crop inputs/services among CropLife 100 ag retailers. In 2015, for Read More
Latest News
Crop Protection Products in storage
Crop InputsNewsweek: World Is ‘Awash In Glyphosate’
February 11, 2016
The world is awash in glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, produced by Monsanto. It has now become Read More
Crop InputsEPA: Let’s Talk Imidacloprid, Bees On February 18
February 11, 2016
EPA will hold an online technical briefing on its preliminary pollinator risk assessment for imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid insecticide, on Feb. Read More
ManagementThe latest on Syngenta-ChemChina Deal
February 11, 2016
Executive Editor Paul Schrimpf invites Jackie Pucci and Dave Frabotta from sister publication AgriBusiness Global to discuss the latest developments Read More
AdjuvantsUniversity of Illinois Confirms Adjuvant’s Perfor…
February 11, 2016
An independent University of Illinois study has shown that WETCIT adjuvant, now with TransPhloem technology, provides greater herbicide uptake and Read More
Crop InputsSyngenta’s Acuron Flexi Receives EPA Approval
February 11, 2016
Growers looking to control their toughest weeds with flexibility will have access to Acuron Flexi corn herbicide from Syngenta, now Read More
EquipmentAGCO Showcases White Planters 9800VE Series Planters AT…
February 11, 2016
AGCO unveiled the new White Planters 9800VE Series planter during the 2016 National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, KY. The Read More
EquipmentCase Unveils 2000 Series Early Riser Planter At NFMS
February 10, 2016
Case IH revealed the all-new 2000 Series Early Riser planter to media and attendees at the opening of the National Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsSyngenta: Keep Ag In Mind During Election Season
February 10, 2016
As presidential candidates stake out their 2016 election platforms and key priorities, growers and their business partners should seek opportunities Read More
Crop InputsMarrone Bio Innovations Submits New Bio-Fungicide For E…
February 9, 2016
Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. (MBI) today announced that it has submitted a new biological fungicide (MBI-110) to EPA. The broad spectrum Read More
Crop InputsWeed Expert: Adding A Second Herbicide Not Always Easy
February 9, 2016
In my last post, I reviewed some recent research that suggests one of the best ways to delay the evolution Read More
Crop InputsGenetic Literacy Project: Farmers Need More Herbicide C…
February 9, 2016
There are two things that I think just about every weed scientist can agree on, writes Andrew Kniss for The Read More
HerbicidesWeed Expert Warns North Dakota Growers Of Coming Herbic…
February 9, 2016
Ford Baldwin painted a bleak picture of weed control at a recent workshop here exploring the future of ag production, Read More
HerbicidesWSSA Announces New, Updated Free Web Resources
February 9, 2016
Today the Weed Science Society of American (WSSA) announced that new and updated educational materials for both weed scientists and Read More
Soybean field
FungicidesFour Arysta Fungicide Formulations Given FIFRA Approval…
February 8, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the issuance of Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Section 2(ee) Recommendations for Read More
FungicidesAgri-Fos Systemic Fungicide Plus Receives EPA Registrat…
February 8, 2016
Vivid Life Sciences has announced the EPA registration of Agri-Fos Systemic Fungicide Plus, a highly concentrated active ingredient phosphite fungicide, Read More
Crop InputsBayer Contests EPA’s Decision On Valuable Insecticide F…
February 5, 2016
Crop Science, a division of Bayer, has announced it has refused a request by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to Read More
Wheat Field North Dakota
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Wins Seed Fraud Suit Against South Dakota Grow…
February 5, 2016
Syngenta has obtained a $25,000 settlement from Paul and John Mayclin, Mayclin Farms, Plankinton, SD, in response to their Plant Read More
ManagementOABA Annual Conference Wraps Up In Columbus
February 5, 2016
More than 300 Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) members and industry professionals were on hand to engage in collaborative learning and Read More