Crop Protection Industry: Pollinator Health, Farm Bill Among Top Issues For 2014

From the implementation of the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act III to the uncertain fate of the Farm Bill, 2013 was a year full of opportunities and challenges. As CropLife America reflects on the progress made in 2013, the association and its members consider areas of focus in 2014. In many ways, the crop protection industry still faces some of the same challenges and we, as an association, must find new means to address and resolve these ongoing issues. The new Farm Bill, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits, Endangered Species Act (ESA) and pollinator health will remain as top tier concerns in 2014.

In addition to continued policy issues and new regulations, there are numerous opportunities to discuss the many benefits of modern agriculture. Agriculture has already experienced incredible change, and with the evolution of new technologies, the opportunities are endless for the future of farming. By creating positive dialogue around modern agriculture, from the way food is grown to conservation practices used on the field, policymakers are better equipped to make realistic and sound regulatory decisions.

Farm Bill

2013 marked another year of Farm Bill delays, debates, expired deadlines and continued uncertainty. The Farm Bill provides a baseline of certainty for all stakeholders engaged in farming, conservation, agribusiness and related activities while ensuring consumers reliable access to a safe and nutritious food supply. While the Farm Bill conference committee continues to meet, there is agreement over some portions of the bill, including plans to end direct payments to farmers, but significant differences remain in key areas regarding commodities and funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps.

Prioritizing Farm Bill policy and spending (cuts) has been made more complicated by the ongoing parallel negotiations dealing with the federal budget generally. With yet another year gone without a new Farm Bill, consumers may be affected and pay higher costs at the grocery store on common goods such as dairy, rice and corn. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack continues to drive discussions with House of Representative and Senate leaders for a resolution and notes that a Farm Bill will help bolster the U.S.’ agriculture sector which continues to drive our national economy.

Clean Water Act, NPDES Permits, ESA

Since the implementation of the Sixth Circuit Court’s ruling in National Cotton Council v. EPA, states across the U.S. have worked to apply the various and multiple changes associated with the erroneous ruling of NPDES for certain aquatic pesticide applications. CropLife America remains committed to ultimately seeing this duplicative court ruling overturned by Congress, and removing the threat of legal liability from applying registered pesticides in accordance with the label.

To achieve this desired end, CropLife America is working with House and Senate members of the Farm Bill conference committee to include the provisions of H.R. 935, the “Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2013,” in the final bill. This legislation would amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Clean Water Act to clarify Congressional intent and eliminate the requirement of NPDES permits for aquatic pesticide applications. Although a similar provision was not included in the Senate version of the Farm Bill, companion legislation (S. 802) has been introduced and receives broad bipartisan support.

The ESA continues to create a regulatory bottleneck for crop protection registration actions, placing added burden on the government, industry and the economy without providing any benefit to threatened and endangered species. ESA’s broken consultation process between the EPA and the Services (the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service) has led to several lawsuits of which CropLife America has been actively engaged. In a significant step forward earlier in 2013, The Center for Biological Diversity and Pesticide Action Network North America v. EPA suit, or “mega” suit, was dismissed on motions brought by CropLife America and EPA, ending the threat to the registration of more than 380 chemicals. Despite the court’s ruling, the plaintiffs were permitted to re-file their motion. Therefore, this issue is not completely resolved but currently leans in our favor.

In April, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) released the report, “Assessing Risks to Endangered and Threatened Species from Pesticides,” which was requested by the Administration in 2011 and demonstrates the Administration’s acknowledgement that the process improvements are required for ESA consultations and FIFRA approved products. The independent report urges the Services to work more efficiently with EPA as it conducts its environmental review to create more streamlined review processes to pool the expertise of all agencies involved in ESA consultations. Currently, the suggestions outlined in NAS’s report have not been implemented and CropLife America stands ready to work closely with Congress and impacted stakeholders to build support for regulatory relief the ESA so desperately demands.

Pollinator Health

The agriculture and crop protection industries understand the importance of pollinators to a healthy agricultural system and work continuously with beekeepers, growers, researchers and regulators to address honeybee health as part of the normal pesticide registration process. Research into bee health is ongoing and has shown that numerous factors influence the health of honeybees. In fact, a report released in 2013 by the USDA and EPA, “Report on the National Stakeholders Conference on Honeybee Health,” notes the following factors as influencers: Parasitic Varroa mites, nutrition, lack of genetic diversity, pesticide exposure and beekeeper and farmer practices.

Earlier in 2013, the European Commission moved to significantly restrict the use of neonicotinoid insecticides. A two-year moratorium went into effect, starting this past December. A bill that would accomplish similar ends, H.R. 2692, has been introduced in the House. H.R. 2692 calls for EPA to suspend the registration of neonicotinoids until a determination has been made that these pesticides will not cause unreasonable adverse effects on pollinators. Such restrictions are unlikely to contribute to any improvement in pollinator health; neonicotinoids are thoroughly tested and monitored for potential risks to the environment and various beneficial species, including honeybees. During the registration process, EPA conducts a comprehensive evaluation of risks to pollinators and various forms of wildlife and continues to assess the risks of these and all plant protection products through its periodic review process.

In response to growing concerns about the effect of seed treatment dust on pollinators, Crop­Life America has partnered with the American Seed Trade Association to release “The Guide to Seed Treatment Stewardship.” This resource addresses the safe handling, transport, storage, planting and disposal of treated seeds, and helps growers adopt better stewardship practices to protect pollinators, the environment and applicators. Collaborative efforts such as these, coupled with ongoing research, will help continue to address the diverse factors at play in honeybee health.

Crop protection products are only one piece of the agriculture story, and CropLife America and its members strive to tell the complete story of modern agriculture each day. From our social media platforms to our collection of infographics and videos, every person working within the agricultural industry can add their voice using these resources. During the past year, CropLife America has effectively grown its Twitter presence to communicate relevant news stories, share valuable resources and balance conversations. In addition, CropLife America released reports on the benefits of seed treatments in modern agriculture; the costly side effects of duplicative ESA regulations; and the potential detrimental effects the European Union’s endocrine disruptor regulations may have on U.S. trade. CropLife America also has produced videos, infographics, posters and talking points on key issues such as pollinator health, conservation and precision agriculture.

Every person has a stake in agriculture, and with the collaboration of allied organizations and industry, our perspective on key issues can be heard. Grassroots activities, such as mobilizing letter-writing, phone calling and e-mailing campaigns; submitting op-eds to newspapers and media; and hosting forums to discuss issues and solutions, are invaluable to reach policymakers and regulators, and consistent communication on emerging science and research will bolster the efforts of the crop protection industry.

Topics: , , ,

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “Crop Protection Industry: Pollinator Health, Farm Bill Among Top Issues For 2014

Legislation Stories

CPP, glyphosate, dicamba, atrazine,
Crop InputsReport: Congress Pressing EPA On Glyphosate Review Handling
May 16, 2016
Via Reuters.com reporter P.J. Huffstutter: U.S. lawmakers have asked EPA to explain why it published – and then withdrew – Read More
Anhydrous Ammonia tanks
LegislationARA: OSHA Announces PSM Formal Rulemaking Intentions
May 11, 2016
In separate communications earlier this week, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced plans to conduct formal rulemaking to Read More
Crop InputsBayer: 5 Reasons We Disagree With Maryland Neonic Ban
April 12, 2016
We’re disappointed that the Maryland legislature chose not to stand up for sound science and the rights of Maryland’s homeowners Read More
Michael Hazzan, Technical Manager at AcuTech, PSM Training
LegislationPreparing For Process Safety Management: What Ag Retailers Need To Do
April 3, 2016
By and large, ag retailers like to use three letter acronyms in their day-to-day operations. Most talk about getting a Read More
Trending Articles
Eric SfiligojPity The Monsanto Haters
May 23, 2016
An old saying goes thus: “Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.” Given current events, there Read More
Monsanto Luling Plant
Crop InputsReport: Bayer Eyeing Monsanto For Possible Mega-Merger
May 16, 2016
Bayer AG is exploring a potential bid for U.S. competitor Monsanto Co. in a deal that would create the world’s Read More
Aerial Drone
Precision AgA Deeper Dive Into The Future Of Precision Ag
May 9, 2016
For about two decades now, through the good and the bad times, the ups and the downs inherent in agriculture, Read More
Palmer amaranth in soybean stubble
HerbicidesWSSA: Billions In Potential Economic Losses From Uncontrolled Weeds
May 4, 2016
What losses would corn and soybean growers experience if they were forced to eliminate herbicides and other control techniques from Read More
Eric SfiligojReasons For Hope In Commodity Prices
May 2, 2016
For many months now, the doomsayers have ruled the day in agriculture. Too much supply with too little demand would Read More
Eric SfiligojMissing The Family Ties In Agriculture
April 25, 2016
By its nature, the agriculture market is cyclical. Up and down cycles come and go with a regular pattern. For Read More
Latest News
ManagementWashington Visit and Bayer/Monsanto Deal Update
May 26, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discusses a recent trip to DC and the latest news on the proposed pairing Read More
Fertilizer closeup in hand
Industry NewsVerdesian: Striking A Balance Between Yield & ROI
May 26, 2016
Finely tuned nutrient management plans are helping farmers throughout the U.S. improve nutrient use efficiency, increase return on investment (ROI) Read More
Crop InputsLand O’Lakes Announces Minnesota Water Quality Pa…
May 25, 2016
Governor Mark Dayton and Land O’Lakes, Inc. President and CEO Chris Policinski today announced a new public-private partnership to protect Read More
Soybean Plant closeup
Industry NewsMonsanto Rejects Bayer Bid; Open To More Talks
May 25, 2016
Monsanto Co, the world’s largest seed company, turned down Bayer AG’s $62 billion acquisition bid as “incomplete and financially inadequate” Read More
Corn close up
Crop InputsArysta LifeScience Establishes Global Headquarters In R…
May 25, 2016
Arysta LifeScience has announced plans to relocate its global headquarters from West Palm Beach, FL, to Cary, NC, over the Read More
fertilizer blending and storage, Top 100
BlendersCHS Dakota Expansion Features AGCO’s GSI InterSys…
May 25, 2016
The continued growth of precision agriculture has increased farmer use of customized fertilizer blends best-suited for their soil conditions. Several Read More
ManagementAgriculture 3.5: A Bumpy Road Ahead
May 24, 2016
You may have read my article a few years ago on Agriculture 3.0, which is a term I coined to Read More
Topcon’s X30 display with CropSpec sensors
EquipmentGPS Autosteer Systems: Product Updates From Precision A…
May 24, 2016
Throughout 2015 GPS Steering solutions continued to evolve from what was once an after-market add on, to today’s cab where Read More
Trimble TMX-2050 In-Cab Display
Eric SfiligojThe Precision Ag Revolution Continues
May 24, 2016
It’s funny how much “the first time” tends to mean to someone as they get older. I sometimes can’t recall Read More
Eric Wintemute, AMVAC
Precision AgAMVAC Ups The Ante With New Precision Ag Technology
May 24, 2016
A potentially industry-changing at-plant soil treatment system from American Vanguard Corp., or AMVAC, is coming soon to large growers in Read More
Dry and Liquid Plant
CropLife 100CropLife 100 Map
May 24, 2016
The new CropLife 100 map shows the locations of each of the headquarters of the 2015 CropLife 100 retailers. The interactive Read More
Southern States Cooperative
Corn Field
Industry NewsTiger-Sul Names Veteran Account Manager To Lead Central…
May 23, 2016
With the continuing growth of the sulphur bentonite and precision crop nutrient industry, global agriculture firm H.J. Baker has announced that Read More
Bayer sign
Industry NewsReuters: Bayer Defies Critics With $62 Billion Monsanto…
May 23, 2016
German drugs and crop chemicals group Bayer has offered to buy U.S. seeds company Monsanto for $62 billion in cash, Read More
Eric SfiligojPity The Monsanto Haters
May 23, 2016
An old saying goes thus: “Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.” Given current events, there Read More
Industry NewsCompass Minerals Hires Industry Veteran To Lead Plant N…
May 19, 2016
Compass Minerals has hired plant nutrition industry veteran Vatren Jurin to steer the company’s portfolio expansion into specialty liquid micronutrient Read More
ASMARK Retailers LIVE! Tour 2016 Group shot The Andersons
CropLife 100The Andersons Rejects Unsolicited Proposal From HC2
May 19, 2016
The Andersons, Inc. has announced that its Board of Directors has rejected two non-binding, highly conditional, unsolicited proposals from HC2 Read More
glyphosate
Crop InputsWHO: Glyphosate ‘Unlikely’ To Cause Cancer
May 16, 2016
Via Reuters.com reporter Kate Kelland: The weed-killing pesticide glyphosate, made by Monsanto and widely used in agriculture and by gardeners, Read More