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

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
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

Trending Articles

ManagementExpert To Discuss Farmland Value, Rent At Farm Science Review
August 18, 2014
While cropland values in Ohio increased in the past two years, they have remained flat in 2014, declining in some cases, according to an Ohio State University agricultural economist. Read More
EquipmentAdvance Your Technology IQ At MAGIE
August 13, 2014
The Midwest AG Industries Exposition (August 20-21) is the place you need to be to see, study and evaluate how new advances in the equipment, operations, crop protection and fertility sectors can help your business prosper. Read More
HerbicidesScouting Key To Next Season’s Soybean Herbicide Program
August 12, 2014
When growing soybeans, growers need to think ahead to stay one step ahead of weeds. That means examining weed threats and evaluating which herbicides work best. Read More
StewardshipMichigan Agriculture Leaders On Toledo Water Ban: We Want To Be Part Of The Conversation
August 8, 2014
Leaders of Michigan agricultural organizations said Thursday that the government should not have a “knee-jerk reaction” based on last weekend’s water ban in Toledo due to fertilizer run-off in Lake Erie. Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Acquires Lemon Ag Services
August 4, 2014
The acquisition of Lemon Ag fits BRANDT’s aggressive corporate strategy of providing superior agronomic advice and services for customers in central Illinois. Read More
Eric SfiligojThe Resurgence Of Crop Protection
August 4, 2014
Plenty of new offerings over the next few years should see a rebirth for the crop protection products category in terms of market share. Read More

Latest News

InsecticidesBioinsecticide VENERATE Now Registered In California
August 27, 2014
Marrone Bio Innovations' VENERATE is a new tool to help California growers control crop-damaging insect pests, fight the development of insect resistance and reduce pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables. Read More
CropLife 100Two Iowa-Based Ag Co-ops To Merge
August 27, 2014
The Board of Directors and management of United Western Coop, Missouri Valley, IA has completed a merger with Heartland Co-op, West Des Moines, IA, effective September 1, 2014. Read More
FertilizerKoch Expands AGROTAIN Nitrogen Stabilizer Portfolio
August 26, 2014
Koch Agronomic Services, LLC has added two new innovative nitrogen stabilizers to the AGROTAIN product family – AGROTAIN ADVANCED and AGROTAIN DRI-­MAXX. Read More
Seed/BiotechDuPont To Build Two Seed Treatment Centers
August 26, 2014
DuPont has announced construction on two state-of-the-art centers dedicated to developing and testing seed treatment formulations, applications and seed handling techniques in an important step toward bringing new solutions to growers. Read More
Seed/BiotechLoveland Products Acquires A Controlling Interest In Ag…
August 26, 2014
Loveland Products, a subsidiary of Agrium , has announced the company has acquired a controlling interest in Agricen, a Dallas-area agricultural biotechnology company delivering biochemical-based products for efficient and sustainable plant nutrition. Read More
StewardshipUp Close Look At The 2014 Environmental Respect Award W…
August 25, 2014
The 2014 Environmental Respect Award winners were honored recently at the 24th annual event in Wilmington, DE. Read More
Eric SfiligojAg Science Rejection Carries Consequences
August 25, 2014
As innuendo and fear dog the regulatory process, agriculture can’t get the new tools it needs to combat world hunger. Read More
LegislationFarmers Dismayed As New Farm Bill Dumps Direct Payments
August 25, 2014
The threatened end of cash subsidies to the nation’s row crop farmers dates back through at least the last two iterations of national agriculture policy legislation. Read More
MAGIE 2014 ShowStopper
EquipmentJohn Deere Again Wins MAGIE ShowStopper Award
August 25, 2014
For the second consecutive year, John Deere was honored at the Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE) for its new R4045 sprayer. Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK CEO To Retire
August 22, 2014
GROWMARK chief executive officer Jeff Solberg has announced his retirement effective September 15, 2014. Read More
InsecticidesDuPont’s Prevathon Approved For Dry Beans
August 22, 2014
DuPont Prevathon insect control powered by Rynaxypyr has received EPA registration for foliar use on dry bean crops, including dried shelled peas and beans. Read More
ManagementNCGA DuPont New Leaders Program Enters Sophmore Season
August 20, 2014
The National Corn Growers Association and DuPont are pleased to announce the second year of the NCGA DuPont New Leaders Program. Read More
FungicidesVerdesian Links Up With Mitsui, Hokusan
August 20, 2014
Mitsui Chemicals Agro, Inc., and Hokusan Co., announced the signing of an exclusive licensing agreement allowing Verdesian Life Sciences global access to its patented technology for suppressing mycotoxin contamination in wheat and barley. Read More
SprayersUniversity Of Illinois Introduces New Spray App
August 18, 2014
University of Illinois Extension has released a new smartphone app for making sprayer-related calculations. Pesticide Spray Calculator, or Spray Calc, Read More
Crop InputsSyngenta Names New Manager Of Federal Government Relati…
August 18, 2014
Laura Wood Peterson has joined Syngenta as manager of federal government relations, based in Washington, DC. Read More
ManagementExpert To Discuss Farmland Value, Rent At Farm Science …
August 18, 2014
While cropland values in Ohio increased in the past two years, they have remained flat in 2014, declining in some cases, according to an Ohio State University agricultural economist. Read More
EquipmentDeere Announces Factory Layoffs
August 18, 2014
Deere & Co. has announced it will reduce the size of its manufacturing workforce at some agricultural equipment factories in response to current market demand for its products. Read More
HerbicidesNew DuPont Afforia Herbicide Gives Crops A Clean Start
August 18, 2014
DuPont Afforia is a preplant herbicide for soybeans and other field crops that provides excellent burndown and residual control of many challenging weeds, such as marestail and waterhemp. Read More