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

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

EquipmentSummer Show Preview 2014: Superior Sprayers Take The Field
July 3, 2014
In this final installment of our coverage of the major categories of Big IRON that retailers can expect to test-drive at this summer’s events, here is a look at 19 sprayers. Read More
Scouting a soybean patch at Green Valley Ag.
EmployeesCropLife Compensation Survey: Battling Talent Drain
July 2, 2014
Retailers too often lose employees to companies outside of agriculture, while recruiting efforts are most often limited to competitors and other ag-focused organizations. Read More
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences Introduces SureStart II Herbicide
June 16, 2014
The enhanced formulation has improved viscosity and increased stability under heat and controls more than 60 high-anxiety grasses and broadleaf weeds found in corn fields. Read More
HerbicidesBASF Investing $270 Million To Expand U.S. Herbicide Production
June 11, 2014
BASF has invested more than $270 million to expand herbicide production capacities in the U.S., including more than 20 new products to be launched over next two years. Read More
EquipmentGPS: 25 Years And Still Growing
June 2, 2014
The evolution of global positioning systems applications in agriculture remains ongoing as the technology hits a notable milestone. Read More
CropLife 10013 Key Acquisitions Pinnacle Has Made In The First Half Of 2014
May 29, 2014
The only thing that has reached a more frenzied pace than #plant14 might be the multiple acquisitions that Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings has made in the first half of the year. Read More

Latest News

LegislationNew Farm Bill Continues To Confuse As Growers Await USD…
July 23, 2014
The new five-year Farm Bill eliminates many of the direct payments previously payed to growers and could benefit from USDA clarification, reports a Toledo Blade columnist. Read More
EquipmentPrecisionAg.com Relaunches With Responsive Design For M…
July 22, 2014
PrecisionAg, the worldwide leader in precision agriculture information and analysis, announces the launch of its completely redesigned website, PrecisionAg.com. Read More
FungicidesEPA OKs Two Willowood Fungicides
July 21, 2014
The EPA has approved Willowood Azoxy 2SC and Willowood AzoxyProp Xtra. two widely used broad spectrum, preventative fungicides with systemic and curative properties. Read More
Precision AgFarmers Learning Fast As UAVs Take Off
July 17, 2014
Farmers and others interested in how UAVs can be used in agricultural applications were able to learn more about the technology during the recent Precision Aerial Ag Show. Read More
CropLife 100Bobby Knight, Richard Petty To Highlight Ag PhD Field D…
July 17, 2014
Attendees at the July 24 Ag PhD Field Day at Hefty Farms will learn about the latest agricultural technologies, and get a chance to meet legendary sports figures Bobby Knight and Richard Petty. Read More
WebinarsUpcoming Webinars
July 17, 2014
Register for one of our upcoming Webinars or access our archive of past Webinars to view recordings of presentations that may be of interest to you. Read More
A finished Willmar 16-ton side-shooting tender.
TendersNew Production Facility Helps Willmar
July 17, 2014
In 1963, a group of businessmen started Willmar. Today, a half-century later, the company is one of the ag industry’s longest-running brands. Read More
FertilizerCF Industries Sells Carbon Credits To Chevrolet, Donate…
July 17, 2014
CF Industries has completed the sale of a large block of carbon reduction credits to Chevrolet, and will donate the net proceeds of $600,000 to the National FFA Foundation. Read More
CropLife 100Grainland Cooperative, Minier Cooperative Grain To Merg…
July 17, 2014
The shareholders of Grainland Cooperative and Minier Cooperative Grain Co. approved a merger of company operations effective August 1, 2014. Read More
ManagementStudy: Drought Costing California Billions
July 17, 2014
A new study has found the drought has cost the state $2.2 billion, primarily in lost farm revenue and wages. Read More
FertilizerCF Industries Resumes Production At Oklahoma Nitrogen C…
July 17, 2014
The company had shut down production at the Woodward, OK, facility in April to address an issue in one of the site’s boilers. Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis To Relocate Agribusiness Division To Denve…
July 16, 2014
The move Eastward will allow Wilbur-Ellis’ Agribusiness Division to be more accessible to relevant geographies and is expected to enhance communication and collaboration among the division’s nearly 3,000 employees. Read More
Soybean field
FungicidesValent Launches New Seed Protection Fungicide For Soybe…
July 16, 2014
The INTEGO SUITE System contains the first new, novel seed protection fungicide chemistry registered in 30 years by the EPA for protection against Pythium and Phytophthora. Read More
Crop InputsSyngenta Drive To Thrive 10 Finalists Announced
July 15, 2014
Finalists are chosen based on the quality of their essays and photos depicting what makes them thrive. Read More
FertilizerHow To Minimize Phosphorus Losses In Runoff
July 15, 2014
Phosphorus losses from agricultural fields can be divided into three categories: flash losses of soluble phosphorus, slow leak losses and erosion events. Here's how to minimize losses in each instance. Read More
ManagementCalifornia Drought Threatens To Dry Up Farm Wells
July 15, 2014
Farmers hit hardest by California's drought could begin to see wells run dry next year, according to a new study by The Center for Watershed Sciences at the University of California, Davis. Read More
Precision AgPoll: Do you plan to attend this year’s InfoAg Co…
July 14, 2014
This year’s InfoAg Conference is just two weeks away. The premier event in precision agriculture takes place July 29-31 at Read More
LegislationFarm Bill Implementation Continues
July 14, 2014
The bill provides $28 billion over the next five years for conservation on private lands while streamlining several old programs and creating new ones like the Regional Conservation Partnership Program. Read More