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
LegislationUSDA: Quick Implementation Of Disaster Assistance Programs A ‘Top Priority’
July 9, 2014
USDA has processed 106,000 payments to farmers in 40 states across the country who suffered livestock and grazing losses between Oct. 2011 and passage of the 2014 Farm Bill. Read More
LegislationTFI Praises White House For Signing WRRDA Into Law
June 11, 2014
The bill streamlines U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects, prioritizes authorized waterway improvements and provides needed adjustments to the Inland Waterways Trust Fund. Read More
LegislationAg Policy: Plenty Of Fertilizer Issues Ahead
January 2, 2014
From West Fertilizer to the Chesapeake Bay, fertilizer producers and dealers are keeping an eye on several Beltway developments in 2014. Read More
Farm Bill
LegislationLack Of Farm Bill Leaves Farmers Facing Uncertainty In 2014
December 13, 2013
With just a few legislative working days remaining in 2013, the likelihood of a new farm bill is waning, leaving farmers in limbo once again. Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100The Andersons Acquires South Dakota Plant Nutrient Manufacturer Kay-Flo
May 20, 2015
The Andersons, Inc., ranked No. 22 on the CropLife 100, has purchased Kay Flo Industries of North Sioux City, SD. “This Read More
CropLife 100North Central Farmers Elevator, Wheat Growers Unification Approved By Board, Still Awaits Member Approval
May 13, 2015
The Boards of Directors for North Central Farmers Elevator (NCFE) and Wheat Growers (WG) have voted to approve the Unification Read More
CropLife 100AgGateway’s Barcoding Initiative Progressing Nicely
May 8, 2015
According to legend (or Wikipedia), the first step towards modern bar codes came back in 1948, when Bernard Silver, a Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Agriculture Acquires Minnesota Retailer
April 14, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings, LLC, ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100,  has successfully acquired Liebl Ag, LLC in Ada, MN.  Read More
CropLife 100CHS, Aurora Cooperative Complete Fertilizer Storage, Grain Shuttle Loading Facility
April 13, 2015
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading cooperative and ranked No. 5 on the CropLife 100, and Aurora Cooperative (ranked No. 21) Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Acquires Missouri Refined Fuels Terminal
April 2, 2015
Bloomington, IL-based GROWMARK and Magellan Pipeline Co. have entered into an agreement in which GROWMARK will acquire the refined fuels Read More
Latest News
ManagementA New Sprayer Company & UAV Research In The Spotlig…
May 21, 2015
CropLife’s Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about a Dutch sprayer manufacturer entering the U.S. with a super-sized entry and Read More
HerbicidesFirst U.S. Sale Of Enlist Duo Herbicide Made By Dow Agr…
May 21, 2015
Dow AgroSciences has recorded the first U.S. sale of Enlist Duo herbicide with Colex-D Technology. This marks the first commercial Read More
CropLife 100The Andersons Acquires South Dakota Plant Nutrient Manu…
May 20, 2015
The Andersons, Inc., ranked No. 22 on the CropLife 100, has purchased Kay Flo Industries of North Sioux City, SD. “This Read More
EquipmentNORAC Options Coming To TerraGator
May 19, 2015
Utilizing NORAC’s Standard Control technology, boom height control is now available for TerraGators with Airmax Precision 2 and Benson Booms. This Read More
Crop InputsHelena Introduces New Soil Health Product
May 19, 2015
Helena Chemical Co. is helping agricultural producers maximize yields and efficiency with the introduction of Liquid Chisel, a new product Read More
Stewardship4R Nutrient Management Planning Certification Now Avail…
May 19, 2015
The American Society of Agronomy (ASA) and the International Certified Crop Adviser (ICCA) program announce a new specialty certification in Read More
Environmental Defense Fund logo
Paul SchrimpfEnvironmental Defense Fund: Appreciating Partners
May 19, 2015
I WAS deep in the throes of preparation for the Commodity Classic meeting that took place this past February, trying Read More
WebinarsUpcoming Webinars
May 19, 2015
Register for one of our upcoming Webinars or access our archive of past Webinars to view recordings of presentations that may be of interest to you. Read More
Syngenta Sign
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Responds To Lawyer’s Victory Claim In Vi…
May 18, 2015
A plaintiff’s lawyer has issued a public statement claiming that damages have been awarded in the Agrisure Viptera corn lawsuits Read More
StewardshipCould Australian Water Trading Approach Fit In Californ…
May 18, 2015
Ten years of drought isn’t a good thing. It doesn’t help the bottom line of farmers or the health of Read More
SpreadersDutch Sprayer Manufacturer To Enter U.S. Market
May 18, 2015
Dutch self-propelled sprayer manufacturer Agrifac Machinery has announced intentions to enter the U.S. market with two models of sprayers available Read More
FertilizerTFI Weighs In On Fertilizer Rail Transport Bill
May 14, 2015
With today’s House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure as a backdrop, The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) registered its support for policies Read More
ManagementA Visit To The 2015 Environmental Respect Spirit Award …
May 14, 2015
CropLife’s Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about a recent visit to the CPS Spirit winner in St. Stephen’s Church, Read More
StewardshipBayer Entomologist Issues Statement On Annual Honeybee …
May 13, 2015
Richard (Dick) Rogers, Principal Scientist / Entomologist, Bayer Bee Care Center for Bayer CropScience LP, today issued the following statement Read More
Crop InputsKansas State Researchers Announce Resistant Kochia Brea…
May 13, 2015
Kansas State University researchers say new research helps explain why an invasive weed is developing resistance to a well-known herbicide, Read More
RR2X soybeans surround untreated check (center)
HerbicidesUSDA Study: Glyphosate Application More Prevalent In So…
May 13, 2015
Glyphosate—known by many trade names, including Roundup—has been the most widely used pesticide in the United States since 2001. It Read More
AdjuvantsHelena Chemical Introduces New Drift Control Adjuvant J…
May 13, 2015
Helena Chemical Co. introduces Justified, an innovative drift control agent designed to improve the performance and precision of spray applications Read More
CropLife 100North Central Farmers Elevator, Wheat Growers Unificati…
May 13, 2015
The Boards of Directors for North Central Farmers Elevator (NCFE) and Wheat Growers (WG) have voted to approve the Unification Read More