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.

Topics:

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
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
Potash Corp Agrium
Crop InputsAgrium, Potash Corp To Merge To Create $36 Billion Company
September 12, 2016
Canada’s Agrium Inc. and Potash Corp of Saskatchewan Inc. have agreed to combine in a deal that would create a Read More
Osage Co-op Elevator Osage, IA Finished Building
OpinionAre We Crazy?
September 8, 2016
At some point in the first few months of my employment here at CropLife® magazine, I started getting curious about Read More
ManagementMAGIE 2016 Highlights and Deere Anti-Trust
September 1, 2016
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj discusses the recent Midwest AG Industries Exposition and the Department of Justice’s objection to John Deere Read More
ASMARK 2016 Retailers Live! Tour - CPS
CropLife 100CPS Acquires Texas Retail Operation
August 23, 2016
Crop Production Services (CPS) has acquired the assets of Larry’s Chemical and Spray, Inc., for an undisclosed amount in an Read More
Key Cooperative Marcus Construction Steel Building
Retail FacilitiesMarcus Construction Builds High-Speed Agronomy Center For Key Cooperative
July 7, 2016
Key Cooperative in Grinnell, IA, wanted a state-of-the-art Agronomy Center to better serve its customers. Marcus Construction delivered exactly that. Read More
Latest News
Syngenta Seedcare Institute
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Opens New North America Seedcare Institute In …
September 23, 2016
Syngenta unveiled its new Seedcare Institute in Stanton, MN, during a recent grand opening celebration. More than 150 industry leaders, Read More
StewardshipMonsanto Invests $1.6 Million In System To Quantify Gre…
September 23, 2016
The USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) recently awarded the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and its Soil Health 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
ManagementPacific Coast Fertilizer Announces Interest In Longview…
September 22, 2016
Pacific Coast Fertilizer LP (PCF) announced at the Cowlitz Economic Development Council board of directors meeting its interest in developing Read More
Young corn plants in soil
UncategorizedCool Planet Raises Additional $9 Million To Commerciali…
September 22, 2016
Cool Planet has announced the first close of a new financing round to commercialize the company’s Cool Terra Engineered Biocarbon Read More
Crop InputsJim Loar Promoted To President And CEO Of Cool Planet
September 22, 2016
In a move that reflects and reinforces the company’s commitment to the agricultural market, the Cool Planet board of directors Read More
BlendersNorth Dakota Coop Debuts Dry Fertilizer Plant
September 22, 2016
North Central Grain Cooperative has begun operations at a new dry fertilizer plant at its Rolla, ND, site. It is Read More
Crop InputsMonsanto, Bayer Officials Defend Proposed $66 Billion M…
September 21, 2016
Top officials for Monsanto and Bayer defended their proposed $66 billion merger before skeptical senators on Tuesday, insisting that the Read More
ManagementUpcoming Shows & Recent Events
September 19, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about upcoming trade shows and events and review the Mid America CropLife Association Read More
Industry NewsVerdesian Life Sciences Appoints New CEO
September 19, 2016
Verdesian Life Sciences, a plant health and nutrition company, today announced that its board of directors has named Kenneth M. Avery Read More
Corn
Crop InputsEPA Settles With Syngenta For Alleged Multi-Regional Pe…
September 19, 2016
The U.S. EPA has announced a multi-region settlement with Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC (Syngenta) in Greensboro, NC, for alleged violations of Read More
ManagementMerger Mania
September 16, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss this week’s mega-ag mergers of Bayer and Monsanto and Potash and Agrium. Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsMonsanto Ends Up Being A Bargain For Bayer
September 16, 2016
History will say Bayer got a bargain in its $66 billion purchase of Monsanto, writes David Nicklaus, St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Read More
Greg Musson, Gar Tootelian
CropLife 100California Ag Retailer Steps Up To Feed Families Affect…
September 16, 2016
GAR Tootelian, Inc. (GAR) in Reedley, CA, is challenging the Central Valley to help raise enough money and provide 525,000 meals Read More
Crop InputsBayer, Monsanto CEOs Discuss Merger
September 15, 2016
Werner Baumann, Bayer CEO, and Hugh Grant, Monsanto CEO, discuss why they decided to merge their companies. Read More
Corn close up
Crop InputsNY Times: Bayer-Monsanto a Bad Deal for Farmers
September 15, 2016
Via NY Times: Don Halcomb, a 63-year-old farmer in Adairville, KY, is expecting his profit to vanish this year, largely Read More
Werner Baumann, Bayer AG, and Hugh Grant, Monsanto
Crop InputsBayer-Monsanto Merger Creates New Global Ag Giant
September 14, 2016
During the whole of 2016, many of the companies that do business in the agricultural industry have concluded the best 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