Agricultural Retailers Association Policy Outlook For 2014

Thanks in part to a government shutdown earlier this year, Congress seems motivated to do something — as evidenced by a recent budget deal and extension of the Farm Bill. Yet, important regulatory and legislative challenges remain for agricultural retailers.

West Fertilizer Response

The regulatory fallout from the accident at West Fertilizer plant will continue to dominate public policy efforts for the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA). The retail industry’s response to the accident in West, TX, continues to develop and evolve.

Prior to the explosion in April, ARA had established a working group to develop best practices around ammonia and ammonium nitrate safety and regulatory compliance. Since the accident, ARA’s working group has grown into an industrywide initiative in partnership with The Fertilizer Institute (TFI), and is now known as ResponsibleAg.

ResponsibleAg would establish a safety management system for retailers who handle ammonia and ammonium nitrate. ARA hopes an industry-led effort will head-off potential regulation, as it has for the petroleum and chemical industries. We have been actively reaching out to members of Congress, their staff and committees of jurisdiction to educate them about the ag retail industry and products of interest.

In August, President Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13650: Improving Chemical Safety and Security. The order addresses enhancing communication within federal government agencies and to first responders and industry partners, along with specific regulatory proposals aimed at retail facilities and their products.

Recently, Senior Vice President of Public Policy Richard Gupton and Public Policy Counsel Michael Kennedy presented ARA’s position to a multi-agency listening session for the executive order. Gupton and Kennedy advocated for ResponsibleAg, and emphasized regulations impacting retailers need to be practical, economically feasible and not outweigh the perceived benefits.

ARA will continue to discuss alternative options with regulators, oppose duplicative regulations and ensure existing regulations are workable and easily understood by the regulated community and local first responders.

Farm Bill

ARA has significant interest in the passage of a long-term Farm Bill. If passed, we are likely to see the preservation of a strong crop insurance program, streamlining the biotechnology review process and conservation reforms, such as reduction of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acreage cap changes to the Technical Service Provider (TSP) program and increased industry participation in conservation programs. ARA continues to advocate for retailers as the Farm Bill situation unfolds.

Security Issues

During the government shutdown, the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program was not only unfunded, but had no legal power to enforce its own laws. The CFATS program, which requires chemical retailers to develop, implement and follow a specific site plan, had been attached to an appropriations bill. ARA expressed its concern and Congress has begun to draft legislation to ensure regulatory certainty for retailers.

ARA has testified before the House Homeland Security Committee recommending common sense approaches to moving the program forward, including: third-party audits, ARA and Department of Homeland Security (DHS)-partnered outreach and adequate methods for screening employees. ARA is working directly with DHS and policy-makers in Congress towards legislation intended for release before 2014.

Environment

The fight continues on a key priority from 2013, stopping implementation of a Pesticide General Permit under the Clean Water Act (CWA) for aquatic pesticide applications.

The agricultural industry has been advocating for legislation (H.R. 872 & S. 3605) that eliminates the need for CWA National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permits for pesticide applications that are FIFRA-compliant (Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act). ARA and others see this as a redundancy that adds more cost and paperwork to regulations for which applicators are already in compliance.

EPA also continues pursuing expanding the definition of navigable waters under CWA to include all ephemeral streams. The CWA clearly limits jurisdiction to navigable streams and waterways that have a continuous flow. ARA continues to work with Congress, the agencies and other allied groups to thwart attempts by EPA to overreach its authority and create unnecessary rules.

In 2014, EPA will move forward with further regulation to limit the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment a body of water may contain.

ARA intends to challenge the data and methodology used in determining thresholds and criteria for water quality standards. The EPA generally overestimates agriculture’s impact on water quality and refuses to recognize agriculture’s conservation practices.

Equipment Depreciation

Congress and the Internal Revenue Service will likely revisit the seven-year depreciation schedule applied to farm equipment in 2014. ARA and others will be advocating for the permanent adoption of the five-year schedule to help growers receive favorable financing to replace older equipment. This fix will promote a more consistent tax code and better align debt service and depreciation. We anticipate a revised depreciation schedule could increase farm income by more than $850 million annually.

Internet Sales Tax

The Marketplace Fairness Act, or “Internet tax bill,” stands to add significant costs for retail cooperatives if enacted as is. Currently, most ag retail transactions are exempt under state and local laws, but under the new bill, new transaction reporting requirements and responsibilities would fall on retailers.

Agribusinesses will have to study the laws of all states that impose sales tax, determine application of those laws to the seller’s product line and obtain and retain exemption certificates. The additional effort and expense will be solely to defend agribusinesses from state sales tax audits, where the majority of sales would be eligible for exemption in the first place.

The costs associated with these obligations would be a major deterrent for agricultural retailers currently involved in e-commerce, and will likely prevent other agribusinesses from expanding online in the future.

This law should provide for appropriate and lawful tax collection within the existing framework, not become a barrier to interstate commerce. Fortunately, the House Judiciary Committee staff — where the bill currently resides — is open to ARA’s suggested changes to protect ag retailers. The bill’s expected to be reintroduced in the next legislative session.

With several major issues impacting ag retailers, 2014 will be a busy year for ARA as we support the legislative and regulatory interests of America’s farm suppliers. For more information on ARA’s policy issues, visit www.aradc.org.

Topics: , ,

Leave a Reply

One comment on “Agricultural Retailers Association Policy Outlook For 2014

Legislation Stories

Crop InputsARA 2016: 5 Developments Worth Monitoring Into 2017
December 6, 2016
You can pretty much set your watch to it (do people even still wear watches? I know I do…but I’m Read More
Pipe rack
LegislationCourt Sides With Ag Retailers On PSM
September 23, 2016
The D.C. Court of Appeals has ruled the Occupational Safety and Health Administration violated the Occupational Safety and Health Act when Read More
Soybean Plant closeup
LegislationOhio Soybean Association Names Pat Tiberi Legislator Of The Year
August 3, 2016
The Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) has announced that Congressman Pat Tiberi (R-OH) has been named one of two Legislators of Read More
Soybean Field
LegislationOhio Soybean Association Names Brian Hill Legislator Of The Year
July 19, 2016
The Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) has announced that State Representative Brian Hill (R-Zanesville) has been named one of two Legislators of Read More
Trending Articles
AgriSync
Matt Hopkins17 Agriculture Apps That Will Help You Farm Smarter In 2017
December 9, 2016
Ag professionals are working smarter, not harder, than ever before. Smart farming technologies have enabled them to reduce costs, maximize Read More
R4023 Sprayer, John Deere
CropLife 100Ag Retail Equipment Report: The Green Party Continues
December 7, 2016
In the annual race for sales in the ag retail equipment marketplace, the color schemes for participants are a little Read More
Mike Stern
Precision AgClimate Corp. CEO Talks Retailer Support For Digital Ag
December 1, 2016
CropLife Magazine’s sister publication, AgriBusiness Global, recently sat down with Mike Stern, CEO of The Climate Corp., following the Monsanto subsidiary’s Read More
Precision AgTrimble Debuts End-to-End FMIS Platform
November 28, 2016
October’s inaugural PrecisionAg Vision Conference left this author with many thoughts and things to ponder in the coming months. Probably Read More
CHS Primeland
CropLife 100The 2016 CropLife 100 Report: Reviewing The Many Bulls And Bears Impacting This Year’s Marketplace
November 28, 2016
For virtually all of 2016, the nation was wholly focused on the big Presidential election. Some folks aligned themselves with Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsMissouri Governor Meets With Bayer CEO To Discuss Monsanto Merger
November 21, 2016
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon visited Bayer AG global headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany, on November 18 to discuss the proposed Bayer-Monsanto Read More
Latest News
Andersons Retail Store
UncategorizedThe Andersons To Close All Retail Stores; Shutdown Does…
January 16, 2017
In a stunning announcement to the Toledo area, The Andersons Inc. said on Sunday that it would close its two Read More
Trimble TMX-2050 In-Cab Display
Eric SfiligojPrecision To Lead Agriculture In 2017?
January 16, 2017
Another new year is upon us! And I’m certain I speak for many in the agricultural world when I say Read More
Corn
Eric SfiligojThe Mood From Madison? In A Holding Pattern
January 16, 2017
Last week, I had the chance to attend the annual Wisconsin AgriBusiness Classic show in Madison, WI. It’s been a Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsAccenture Helps Syngenta Transform Its Global Logistics
January 13, 2017
Syngenta, a leading agriculture company, has collaborated with Accenture to design and implement a new digital logistics operating model across Read More
Fall Creek Seth Harden The Nature Conservancy
StewardshipLocal Farmers’ Watershed Initiative: Continuous Improve…
January 13, 2017
The goal in the Big Pine Watershed Project is to more intentionally do what local farmers and responsible ag retailers Read More
HerbicidesEPA Expands Enlist Duo Herbicide Registration To 34 Sta…
January 13, 2017
The U.S. EPA has expanded the geography for application of Enlist Duo herbicide from 15 to 34 states. This means Read More
Olson Ag Enterprise
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Acquires Nebraska Seed Retailer
January 13, 2017
Wilbur-Ellis’ Agribusiness, a recognized leader in precision agriculture technology and the distribution and marketing of plant protection, seed and nutritional Read More
ManagementDeere-Precision Planting Update and the Ag Secretary Wa…
January 12, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj provide the latest on the court date for John Deere/Precision Planting and the quest Read More
Monsanto sign
Seed/BiotechMonsanto, NRGene Form Agreement For Big Data Genomic An…
January 12, 2017
Monsanto Co. and NRGene have announced that the companies have reached a non-exclusive, multi-year global licensing agreement on NRGene’s genome-analysis Read More
AGCO Custom applicator
SprayersAGCO, Asmark Institute To Offer Training For Beginning …
January 11, 2017
AGCO Corp. and the Asmark Institute are collaborating to offer a new training program dedicated to educating and developing custom Read More
ManagementAg Land Values In Limbo In 2017
January 10, 2017
Several factors will come into play in 2017 that will determine the direction of land values. Randy Dickhut, senior vice Read More
Industry NewsPattison Agriculture Positioned To Be Leading Canadian …
January 10, 2017
Pattison Agriculture Limited (Pattison Agriculture), a division of The Jim Pattison Group (the Pattison Group), has announced the merger of Read More
Fertilizer Tender close-up
MicronutrientsHow Micronutrients Fit Into 2017 Fertility Plans
January 10, 2017
Where do micronutrients stand going forward in fertility plans? For one thing, Tim Mundorf, Field Representative with Midwest Laboratories, says Read More
Fertilizer application
State of the IndustryCautious Optimism On Fertilizer In 2017
January 10, 2017
What kind of fertilizer rates are growers and retailers looking at in 2017 and beyond? According to stakeholders CropLife magazine Read More
Asmus Farm Supply crop protection products in storage
State of the IndustryCrop Protection Products Market: Complexity Begets Oppo…
January 10, 2017
While other key market segments in agriculture continue to see tumultuous shifts in sales volumes going forward (large equipment sales are Read More
RoGator RG1300B AGCO
Sprayers10 Sprayers That Will Showcase The Latest Application T…
January 10, 2017
Sprayer manufacturers continue to step up their games with the latest in application technology. From direct injection systems and four-wheel Read More
Soybean Field
FungicidesGrowers Report Yield Boost, Extended Residual Disease C…
January 9, 2017
With the new growing season around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about inputs for 2017. As growers weigh Read More
Donald Trump
Eric SfiligojTrump’s New Ag Secretary Coming Soon?
January 9, 2017
As agricultural experts are quick to point out, incoming President Donald Trump largely has the nation’s growers to thank for Read More