CropLife America 2012 Legislative Review: Policy In Flux

The crop protection industry and all related stakeholders experienced great change in 2011, and next year may prove to be no different. CropLife America and our members will continue to closely monitor and engage in discussions surrounding some of the major issues in our nation’s capitol, such as the presidential election and 2012 Farm Bill. Yet public discourse may shift in further scrutiny of crop inputs as 2012 also marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Often credited with igniting the environmental movement, the book’s portrayal of crop protection products prompted the industry to improve coordination with federal agencies which ultimately shaped the EPA robust pesticide registration process and helped our industry reach new levels of safety.

In addition, many key policy issues and regulations specific to the crop protection industry will continue to evolve in 2012 and potentially impact all of us from Capitol Hill straight to growers in the fields. Coinciding with the potential of increased regulation and policy concerns is the increasing importance for a discussion of the many benefits of agriculture by creating a positive dialogue around environmental stewardship and food production. All indicators point to another year of great change to include discussions of sustainability and environmental responsibility, and many more opportunities to discuss the benefits of our industry.

NPDES Permitting

New National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit requirements remained one of the biggest issues facing the agricultural community in 2011, and will continue to adversely affect pesticide applicators in the foreseeable future. An erroneous 2006 decision from the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court ruled that certain pesticide applications made to, over or near water are subject to additional paperwork and regulatory red tape, with no additional environmental benefit. Leaders in the Senate introduced legislation to help overturn this new NPDES permit requirement, H.R. 872 (“Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011”), and it received strong bipartisan support. Despite this, the Senate remained in gridlock and was unable to pass any legislation to help clear the regulatory morass. 

Most U.S. states have now developed their own permitting program, while six are following a General Permit created by EPA. Full enforcement of the new permitting requirements begins in January, but CropLife America continues to believe that the Sixth Circuit Court’s 2006 ruling was erroneous, and now states are being forced to implement duplicative regulation, and small business owners will feel the unnecessary burden of a paperwork requirement and added liability. In the coming year, CropLife America will continue to advocate the passing of H.R. 872 in the Senate and will work with states and small business owners as they prepare to comply with the court’s unfortunate and misguided ruling.

The Endangered Species Act & Pesticide Registration

The importance of protecting our country’s threatened plants, animals and habitats is recognized under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), an over-arching piece of legislation that impacts pesticide registrations. As part of this, ESA requires that EPA consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) despite conflicts between the Services’ review and those of the EPA. The Services’ biological opinions (BiOps) are scientifically flawed with overestimations of risks to endangered species and place undue burdens on farmers. Extremist groups have sued EPA, alleging the Agency has not consulted with the Services; portions of the lawsuit settlements call for all parties to coordinate on the registered use of pesticides. These lawsuits include the currently-pending suit, Center for Biological Diversity and Pesticide Action Network North America v. EPA, which could impact the registration of more than 300 pesticides. CropLife America is involved as an intervenor in this case to ensure that any potential settlements do not result in unfounded product use restrictions.

The inability of Services’ scientists and EPA to reach agreement on a reasonable risk assessment process has led them to make a request for guidance from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). NAS will review specific science issues in the current consultation process where there are disagreements. Other Congressional actions have called for the suspension of NMFS pesticide BiOp implementation until the NAS review is complete. This would help to establish putting process improvements into action, and provide funding for NMFS to conduct a study of the economic impact of four flawed BiOps and the validity of the science.

Looking To The Future: Product Stewardship, Modern Agriculture & Sharing The Benefits

The crop protection industry is just one component of the larger story of modern agriculture, and CropLife America is proud to help share that story. An important part of modern agriculture is stewardship, and each sector in agriculture is committed to environmental and consumer safety. One of the crop protection industry’s major stewardship initiatives, pesticide container recycling, has undergone recent developments with the final phase of EPA’s implementation of the Pesticide Container and Containment (PCC) rule this past August. The PCC rule includes new container management language on product labels, and industry has worked closely with EPA to develop the rule to facilitate responsible disposal and recycling of pesticide containers to protect the environment from potential pesticide releases. CropLife America worked closely with stakeholders in the industry to ensure a smooth transition to the new PCC rule in 2011.

Beyond the legislative and legal matters that CropLife America continually monitors, it is equally important for our growers and ranchers to openly and confidently speak about the many benefits of modern U.S. agriculture, and the many positive steps that we take every day to produce healthy food. Initiatives such as the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance, Alliance to Feed the Future and The Hand that Feeds U.S. are just a few examples of organizations working to strengthen the relationships between consumers, growers and regulators. Each organization will continue to push ahead in 2012 to effectively communicate the many contributions of modern agriculture.

As our industry faces changing policies and regulations, it is important that the agricultural community remain vocal in sharing the benefits of their work, and speaking up for how we must all work together to provide a safe, sustainable and affordable food supply.


Leave a Reply

Legislation Stories

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
Grower Truck at retailer
CropLife 100ARA Seeks Comment on Ag Driver Sleep Apnea Issue
July 5, 2016
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) are seeking public Read More
Trending Articles
Matt Hopkins15 Twitter Accounts Every Ag Professional Must Follow
October 13, 2016
What do singer Katy Perry and the President of the United States have in common? They are two of the Read More
AGCO RG700 cab
OpinionRoadblocks To Precision Ag Innovation
October 5, 2016
On August 29, I got to preside over the PrecisionAg Innovation Series event, “Game-Changing Advances in Precision Farming Technology,” developed Read More
J.C. Ramsdell containment system
EquipmentClear Opportunity In The Tank Market
October 4, 2016
Crop prices may be down, but steel prices are too — and that’s good news for retailers looking to add some Read More
WinField booth Farm Progress
Special ReportsTalking Weed Management Strategies At Farm Progress 2016
October 2, 2016
The annual Farm Progress Show — this year staged in Boone, IA — is always a great place to catch Read More
Corn Field
Eric SfiligojFacing Ag Industry Challenges
September 26, 2016
At the 2016 annual Mid America CropLife Association (MACA) meeting in September, a pair of crop protection company representatives discussed Read More
Bayer Monsanto
Crop InputsBayer-Monsanto Mega-Merger: 6 Things You Need To Know
September 14, 2016
Mega mergers have become almost routine in the agricultural industry. Right on the heels of Monday’s news that fertilizer giants Potash Read More
Latest News
Eric SfiligojThe 2016 CropLife 100 Preview
October 28, 2016
Fall is in full swing and we at CropLife magazine are busy putting the finishing touches on our end-of-the-year stories and Read More
ManagementHighlights from the PrecisionAg Vision Conference
October 28, 2016
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Matthew Grassi discuss what was talked about at the 1st annual PrecisionAg Vision Conference and provide Read More
Crop InputsOhio State Researchers Announce Progress on ‘Phos…
October 27, 2016
Researchers at The Ohio State University are investigating new techniques to detect organic phosphorus compounds in water samples from the Read More
Stewardship4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program To Launch…
October 26, 2016
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program will expand the voluntary retailer program to the full state of Ohio, allowing nutrient Read More
AGCO RG700 at the 2015 National Farm Machinery Show
EquipmentAGCO Parts Rolls Out No-Interest, No-Payments Offer Via…
October 26, 2016
AGCO Corp. is now offering an innovative financing solution on qualifying Parts and Service transactions. Now through December 31, 2016, Read More
Soybean field
Crop InputsIncotec Invests In North America
October 25, 2016
Leading seed enhancement company Incotec, part of Croda, has announced an investment in their North America business. The total investment of Read More
Patriot 25th anniversary
SprayersCase IH Celebrates 25 Years Of Patriot Sprayers At Bens…
October 24, 2016
Case IH executives, employees and special guests celebrated 25 years of production of Case IH Patriot sprayers in a special Read More
4r Nutrient stewardship
StewardshipNominations For The 4R Advocate Program Due October 31
October 24, 2016
Nominations for the 4R Advocate program are due to The Fertilizer Institute by October 31, 2016. The program recognizes agricultural Read More
Corn close up
Eric SfiligojProtecting Agriculture’s Ability To Feed The World
October 24, 2016
The rate of change coming to agriculture is growing, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. This Read More
Student Young Worker CHS
CropLife 100CHS Supports #FirstJob Compact
October 24, 2016
CHS joins the White House and many of the country’s largest employers in signing a new initiative centered on helping Read More
Kennebec Grain terminal
CropLife 100Wheat Growers Kennebec Facility Loads First Rail Cars
October 21, 2016
In a season of firsts for Wheat Growers’ Kennebec Grain Terminal, the first 115-car unit train was loaded with soybeans Read More
ManagementThe Latest Dow-DuPont Rumor, Product of the Year Voting…
October 20, 2016
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj shares a new rumor about the Dow-DuPont merger and updates on two CropLife-driven programs, the CropLife Read More
Soybean Closeup
FungicidesFMC Begins Registration Process For New Fungicide Activ…
October 19, 2016
FMC Agricultural Solutions has begun the joint U.S. EPA and Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency registration process for bixafen, a new Read More
Soil Young Corn
Industry NewsAgribusiness Search Firm Appoints New Managing Partner
October 18, 2016
Morris Bixby Group, a leading agribusiness search firm providing the highest quality professional recruiting and career advancement services since 2000, Read More
Wheat Field North Dakota
FertilizerUnited Suppliers Acquires Kansas Fertilizer Business
October 17, 2016
United Suppliers, Inc. has purchased the assets of Evans Enterprises, LLC, an ammonium chloride fertilizer business based in Olathe, KS. Read More
Corn Field
Industry NewsFMC Launches New Operations In Argentina, Exits Joint V…
October 17, 2016
FMC Corp. has exited its joint venture with Ruralco Soluciones S.A. FMC has launched new commercial operations, FMC Quimica S.A., Read More
Dow AgroSciences
InsecticidesRenewed Registration Issued For Products Containing Sul…
October 17, 2016
On October 14, 2016, the U.S. EPA re-established the registration of products containing sulfoxaflor (Isoclast Active), including Transform WG, Closer Read More
Eric SfiligojThe Whys Of Agriculture
October 17, 2016
During 2016, there have been myriad challenges facing the whole agricultural industry. Such wide ranging issues as water protection, sustainable Read More