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

CHS St. Paul, MN fertilizer terminal
LegislationICGA Praises President Trump’s Remarks on Waterways Infrastructure
June 12, 2017
Illinois Corn Growers Association President Justin Durdan, a farmer from Utica, issued the following statement regarding President Donald Trump’s comments Read More
Corn soil
LegislationARA Member Testifies Before Senate Ag Committee
May 25, 2017
Agricultural retailers stand on the front-lines of the American economy. As trusted advisors to America’s farmers, ag retailers are uniquely Read More
Migrant farm workers
LegislationTrump: Immigration Crackdown Won’t Impact U.S. Agriculture
May 16, 2017
President Donald Trump said he would seek to keep his tough immigration enforcement policies from harming the U.S. farm industry Read More
Trump, Senate, Cabinet
LegislationTrump’s EPA Appointee Dismisses Half of Major Scientific Review Board at Agency
May 8, 2017
(Via NYTimes.com) EPA has dismissed at least five members of a major scientific review board, the latest signal of what Read More
Trending Articles
PrecisionAg Vision Conference
Precision AgPrecisionAg® Vision Conference: Focused on the Future
June 13, 2017
PrecisionAg® is pleased to announce the return of its PrecisionAg Vision Conference, October 10-12, 2017. Based on overwhelmingly positive response Read More
Redbanded-stinkbug-on-soybean-Photo-credit-Thomas-County-Ag
Crop InputsExperts: Mild Winter, Early Planting Will Increase Soybean Insect Threat
June 12, 2017
Higher than average temperatures this past winter affected much of the nation, especially the South and Midwest. The National Centers Read More
Eric SfiligojMonsanto ‘Picks Its Battles’ by Nixing Deere Deal
May 23, 2017
Having been in the trade journalism game since the mid-1980s, I remember several watershed moments during my career. One of Read More
Migrant farm workers
LegislationTrump: Immigration Crackdown Won’t Impact U.S. Agriculture
May 16, 2017
President Donald Trump said he would seek to keep his tough immigration enforcement policies from harming the U.S. farm industry Read More
AGCO Ratliff featured
Eric SfiligojRemembering Robert Ratliff
May 15, 2017
With all the fast-paced happenings in agriculture this spring, with multiple mergers in the works and planting season in full Read More
Case sprayer nozzle closeup
EquipmentSpray Application: A Nozzle Renaissance
May 2, 2017
If you had asked four-decade ag veteran Mark Bartel, President of Wilger Inc., just a few years ago what lay Read More
Latest News
Young Corn Plants
Eric SfiligojLaunching New Seed Traits: Wait on China . . . Or Else!
June 26, 2017
In life, no one likes the waiting game. In agriculture, however, playing the waiting game is very important – especially Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsMonsanto Speaks on Dicamba Issues in Arkansas
June 26, 2017
Monsanto’s Chief Technology Officer, Robb Fraley, issued the following statement following the Arkansas State Plant Board’s proposal to ban dicamba, Read More
Corn Field
Seed/BiotechCorn Insect Bt Technologies Offer Cost-effective, Proac…
June 26, 2017
When farm economics are challenging, farmers look for ways to bolster profit margins, including reducing input costs. Some may think Read More
Crop InputsArkansas Plant Board Votes to Ban Dicamba — Now W…
June 23, 2017
The Arkansas State Plant Board has voted to pass a proposed emergency rule to ban the use of in-crop dicamba, Read More
Engenia soybeans
Crop InputsBASF: ‘Closely Monitoring’ Dicamba Situatio…
June 22, 2017
BASF, whose Engenia herbicide is the target of more than 200 drift complaints in Arkansas, emailed the following statement to Read More
ManagementConsolidation Update
June 22, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss progress on manufacturer consolidation, and another big move for Midwest cooperative Central Valley Read More
Palmer pigweed seedhead in cotton
Crop InputsThreat of Dicamba Ban Looms in Arkansas
June 22, 2017
The Arkansas State Plant Board has rejected a proposed ban on the use of dicamba herbicide, but a procedural error Read More
Potash Agrium
Crop InputsAgrium-PotashCorp to become Nutrien upon Merger Complet…
June 21, 2017
Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. and Agrium Inc. have announced today that once the anticipated merger transaction closes, the new Read More
Crop InputsMidwestern BioAg Hosts TerraNu Fertilizer Plant Opening…
June 20, 2017
Last Friday, Midwestern BioAg was joined by over 80 local farmers, media and staff to celebrate the grand opening of Read More
Soybean Field
Industry NewsAligned Ag Distributors Names New President
June 19, 2017
Aligned Ag Distributors LLC announced this morning the appointment of Mary Tolke to the position of President/CEO, effective July 1. Read More
ManagementPlotting Corn, AGCO/Asmark’s Applicator Training Center…
June 15, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about their recent visits to Columbus, OH, and Bloomington, IL, along with an Read More
Seed/BiotechDow AgroSciences Announces Launch of Enlist Corn for 20…
June 14, 2017
Enlist corn will be commercially available in the U.S. for the 2018 growing season. Dow AgroSciences announced the launch today Read More
ASMARK AGCO Applicator Training Center
EmployeesAsmark, AGCO Open Training Center for Beginning Applica…
June 13, 2017
AGCO Corp. and the Asmark Institute have opened a new Applicator Training Center, created in a collaboration between the two Read More
Power to Do More Contest Winners
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences Announces Three Winners in Power to Do…
June 13, 2017
Thousands of votes have been cast and three farmers have been awarded the power to do more with a $10,000 Read More
Frogeye leaf spot
FungicidesStrobilurin-resistant Frogeye Leaf Spot Threat Looms wi…
June 13, 2017
Heavy spring rainfall throughout the South and Midwest delayed planting and created the perfect environment for diseases like frogeye leaf Read More
PrecisionAg Vision Conference
Precision AgPrecisionAg® Vision Conference: Focused on the Future
June 13, 2017
PrecisionAg® is pleased to announce the return of its PrecisionAg Vision Conference, October 10-12, 2017. Based on overwhelmingly positive response Read More
CHS St. Paul, MN fertilizer terminal
LegislationICGA Praises President Trump’s Remarks on Waterwa…
June 12, 2017
Illinois Corn Growers Association President Justin Durdan, a farmer from Utica, issued the following statement regarding President Donald Trump’s comments Read More
Wheat Growers
UncategorizedWheat Growers Names Tracy Linbo as Senior Vice Presiden…
June 12, 2017
Wheat Growers has hired Tracy Linbo as Senior Vice President of Agronomy. Linbo joins Wheat Growers after having served 10 Read More