ARA: Managing Plenty Of Issues

Capitol Building

The American public voiced their concern with the state of the economy in the Fall 2010 elections, which resulted in a significant swing in political power. Of note, Republicans will have the majority in the House of Representatives, which means that committee chairmanships will change in the 112th Congress, which begins in 2011.

This change and growing national concern with the economy will shape the 2011 federal agenda. The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) anticipates legislative and regulatory action on a number of major issue areas important to retailers and distributors of crop inputs, transportation, environment, chemical security and tax issues.

Transportation

Last year, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) limited the agriculture hours of service (HOS) exemption from being applicable to all farm inputs from distribution to the farm to only anhydrous ammonia transportation. The HOS exemption allows agricultural truckers to avoid time limitations within a 100 air mile radius during planting and harvest seasons, as defined by each state. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-FL) is a strong proponent of the exemption, unlike the previous committee chairman, Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-MN). ARA is working with Congress on the upcoming Highway Bill to ensure that the exemption’s statutory language is clarified so that movement of all farm inputs will fall under the exemption. ARA also plans to advocate for extending the limitation on distance from 100 to 150 air miles.

In 2011, Congress will also consider reauthorizing the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act (HMTA). ARA supports federal preemption of hazardous materials law so that the legal requirements for carriers do not vary between geographic regions. Within the HMTA reauthorization, ARA will also advocate for streamlined credentialing, the elimination of duplicative background checks and decreased overlap in federal regulation requirements between agencies.

This year, ARA expects the DOT to finalize a 2010 proposal to incorporate two special permits important to the industry into the regulations. The special permits, SP 13554 and SP 10950, allow for the authorization to transport nurse tanks securely mounted on field trucks and authorization for nurse tanks with missing or illegible dataplates to continue to be used in anhydrous ammonia service under specified conditions. ARA supports the incorporation of these special permits into the regulations because it will save agricultural retailers from filing applications and renewals with the DOT, allow for retailers to avoid a DOT fitness determination for access to the provisions, and provide certainty for regulatory compliance with regard to nurse tank capital investment.

ARA plans to continue working with the DOT to address problems in the Hazardous Materials Safety Permit and the implementation of the Comprehensive Safety Analysis.

Environment

In 2011, there will be no shortage of environmental legislative and regulatory issues. This month, EPA is expected to release the final general National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for pesticide applications in, above or near water. The permit is the result of a 2009 appeals court case which struck down an EPA rule that exempted FIFRA-compliant pesticide applications from Clean Water Act Requirements (CWA). The permits will be enforced beginning in April. ARA has worked with EPA to support the development of a NPDES permitting system that will have limited impact on terrestrial pesticide applications. ARA is working with Congress to ensure FIFRA-compliant pesticide applications are not subject to the CWA requirements.

EPA expects to finalize its Pesticide Drift Labeling registration notice later in the year. ARA opposes ambiguous label language like, “could cause harm.” Further, EPA should recognize that some level of de minimus spray drift exists, even when best management practices are used. EPA also plans to move forward with evaluating the idea of Pesticide Web-Distributed Labeling, which would remove labels from pesticide containers and make pesticide labels available only on the Internet. ARA believes having access to labels on the Web may be useful to some users, but there are many technical issues to resolve, not the least of which is that high-speed Internet is not readily accessible for many farmers. ARA also has serious concerns regarding liability.

Activists groups have launched an attack on the agriculture industry, and nutrient issues are increasing in response to the attacks. ARA participates in the Agriculture Nutrient Policy Council (ANPC) to combat the attacks on fertilizer use. EPA plans to use its work in restricting nutrient runoff in Florida and the Chesapeake Bay to institute water quality standards across the U.S. ARA and ANPC are supportive of the adoption of conservation practices and technologies based on sound science and economic reasoning. The power to implement any pollution diet should remain within state control.

Clean Air Act (CAA) issues, like carbon dioxide emissions and dust regulation, will be a concern in 2011. ARA is fighting EPA’s draft proposals to increase dust regulation to unattainable levels in the West. While climate change legislation is unlikely in the 112th Congress, EPA is rolling out its CAA regulation of carbon dioxide in 2011. ARA continues to legislatively fight the EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gasses through the CAA.

Chemical Security

In 2010, Congress passed legislation that would temporarily reauthorize the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS). ARA supports a permanent authorization of the CFATS program, but opposes efforts to include an inherently safer technology (IST) mandate, third-party enforcement provisions and weakening of federal preemption in the legislation. In 2011, ARA is optimistic that it will be more desirable to the new Congress to pass a straight reauthorization of the CFATS program for an additional three to five years than to add more CFATS requirements. ARA continues to work closely with the Department of Homeland Security on the implementation of CFATS and the new ammonium nitrate registration regulations.

Taxes

The 2001 and 2003 tax cuts were set to expire at the end of 2010. Further, the estate tax was set to snap back to tax all estates valued over $1 million at a 55% rate in 2011. In December, Congress visited these tax issues, along with an unemployment benefits extension. ARA has advocated for a full repeal of the estate tax, while settling for a maximum rate of 35% on estates over $5 million per spouse, as well as supporting the permanent extension of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. If Congress fails to act by January 1, it is foreseeable that the new Congress will take favorable action early in 2011.

ARA led the effort to secure the Agricultural Chemical Security Tax Credit in the 2008 Farm Bill. Ag retailers, manufacturers, formulators, distributors and aerial applicators storing specified ag chemicals are eligible for a 30% tax credit of aggregate amount to $100,000 per facility, limited to $2 million a year per company. The tax credit will expire with the 2012 Farm Bill. ARA looks forward to extend the tax credit beyond 2012, but expects a tough fight due to budgetary concerns.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Legislation Stories

Donald Trump
Crop InputsTrump Targets Agriculture with Latest Executive Order
April 26, 2017
(Via UPI.com) President Donald Trump on Tuesday took executive action in an effort to help grow the domestic agriculture industry Read More
Sonny Perdue
LegislationSonny Perdue Confirmed by Senate as Next Agriculture Secretary; Praised by ARA
April 25, 2017
After months without a secretary of agriculture, the Senate voted Monday evening to confirm former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to Read More
Corn Field
LegislationTFI Hopes Court Dismissal Is ‘Final Chapter’ Of Des Moines Water Works Lawsuit
March 20, 2017
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) released the following statement from President, Chris Jahn on the March 17, 2017, federal court dismissal Read More
Sonny Perdue
LegislationARA: Sonny Perdue Confirmation Delay Simply A Paperwork Snaffu
March 9, 2017
It’s been seven weeks since the White House named former Gov. Sonny Perdue (R-Ga.) as the nominee for the next Read More
Trending Articles
Crop InputsFlying Under the Radar No More, FMC Goes Big
April 13, 2017
Describing FMC as “under the radar,” admittedly, is probably a stretch. But in a snap of the fingers, FMC upped Read More
Young Corn Plants
Crop NutritionStill Hunting Yields
April 1, 2017
There’s no denying it — the agricultural marketplace today is undergoing a fundamental shift in fortunes. Not too many years Read More
Nutrients for Life Foundation Teacher
FertilizerNutrients For Life Foundation Celebrates 10 Years Teaching Fertilizer Education
March 23, 2017
Those in agriculture know fertilizer is a vital ingredient to grow strong, productive crops. In fact, fertilizer is responsible for Read More
AdjuvantsA New Weed-Control Era Begins: But First, One Last Obstacle
March 4, 2017
There is trepidation, there is reluctance, and there is excitement. Ag retailers feel it all about the new dicamba and Read More
LIFT Academy video screenshot
Crop InputsLIFT Agriculture Academy: A Q&A With West Central Distribution’s Dean Hendrickson
March 1, 2017
West Central Distribution recently launched its LIFT Agriculture Academy, a new, premiere training and professional development resource for West Central’s ag Read More
Farmer and aptop
Matt Hopkins10 Warning Signs Your Website Is Grossly Outdated
February 8, 2017
Your Website is often a visitor’s first impression of your ag retail business. A positive first impression can set the Read More
Latest News
ManagementWashington Update, Dow-DuPont Earnings, and the Passing…
April 27, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about the latest Beltway news, crop protection company 1st quarter numbers, and the Read More
BRANDT
CropLife 100Former PotashCorp COO Joins BRANDT Board
April 27, 2017
BRANDT has announced the appointment of another industry veteran to its board of directors. David Delaney, most recently EVP and Read More
Syngenta headquarters in Basel, Switzerland
Crop InputsFortune: Inside China’s $43 Billion Bid for Food …
April 26, 2017
(Via Fortune.com) The worst famine in human history occurred in China from 1959 to 1961. An estimated 34 million people Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsSyngenta Announces Changes in Board of Directors
April 26, 2017
ChemChina and Syngenta announced changes relating to the new Board of Directors of Syngenta following the closing of the ChemChina Read More
Crop InputsBioSafe Systems Introduces PerCarb Broad-Spectrum Bacte…
April 26, 2017
BioSafe Systems announces PerCarb (Sodium Carbonate Peroxyhydrate), a new alternative to potassium bicarbonate and lime sulfur products for use in Read More
Deere Twitter
EquipmentTop 10 Twitter Pics for #Plant17
April 26, 2017
Despite some wet weather in parts of the Midwest, growers and ag retailers are working feverishly to plant this year’s Read More
Donald Trump
Crop InputsTrump Targets Agriculture with Latest Executive Order
April 26, 2017
(Via UPI.com) President Donald Trump on Tuesday took executive action in an effort to help grow the domestic agriculture industry Read More
AGCO Ratliff featured
EquipmentAGCO Mourns Passing of Company Founder, Industry Vision…
April 25, 2017
AGCO Corp., a worldwide manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment and solutions, mourns the passing of founder and former President, Read More
Engenia soybeans
Crop InputsINNVICTIS CROP CARE Introduces VANDAL MOC Soybean Herbi…
April 25, 2017
INNVICTIS CROP CARE, LLC has announced the U.S. EPA registration for VANDAL MOC, a combination of sulfentrazone plus metolachlor. VANDAL Read More
Kochia
HerbicidesINNVICTIS CROP CARE Launches STAVE Post-Emerge Broadlea…
April 25, 2017
INNVICTIS CROP CARE, LLC has introduced STAVE as the newest addition to­ its expanding portfolio. STAVE will be a great Read More
Sonny Perdue
LegislationSonny Perdue Confirmed by Senate as Next Agriculture Se…
April 25, 2017
After months without a secretary of agriculture, the Senate voted Monday evening to confirm former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to Read More
BPIA logo
Seed/BiotechBPIA Files Comments with USDA
April 24, 2017
The Biological Products Industry Alliance (BPIA) has filed comments with the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Plant Read More
Eric SfiligojHope for Application Equipment Sales
April 24, 2017
The old saying goes that a “rising tide lifts all boats.” If this is indeed the case, then things may Read More
Stewardship video screenshot
ManagementNew Video Raises Awareness of 2,4-D Stewardship
April 24, 2017
A new public service video developed and produced by the 2,4-D Research Task Force, in conjunction with the American Soybean Read More
ManagementAn Inside Look at Award Winning Ag Retailer Gar Tooteli…
April 20, 2017
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj discusses An Inside Look at Award Winning Ag Retailer Gar Tootelian Read More
Students Soybean Field
Industry NewsMACA Announces 2017 Young Leader Scholarship Recipients
April 19, 2017
The Mid America CropLife Association (MACA) Board of Directors selected 11 college students to receive the MACA Young Leader Scholarship Read More
Growmark FS Outlet
SoftwareKnoa Software Solution Helps GROWMARK Boost System Perf…
April 19, 2017
Knoa Software, a leading provider of user experience management (UEM) software, has announced that GROWMARK, Inc., a regional agricultural cooperative Read More
Crop InputsFBN Publishes ‘Voice of the Farmer’ Agricul…
April 17, 2017
Farmer’s Business Network (FBN) released today its “The Voice of the Farmer”, which the company is describing as “a special Read More