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

Crop InputsARA 2016: 5 Developments Worth Monitoring Into 2017
December 6, 2016
You can pretty much set your watch to it (do people even still wear watches? I know I do…but I’m 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
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
Trending Articles
Mike Stern
Precision AgClimate Corp. CEO Talks Retailer Support For Digital Ag
December 1, 2016
CropLife Magazine’s sister publication, AgriBusiness Global, recently sat down with Mike Stern, CEO of The Climate Corp., following the Monsanto subsidiary’s Read More
Precision AgTrimble Debuts End-to-End FMIS Platform
November 28, 2016
October’s inaugural PrecisionAg Vision Conference left this author with many thoughts and things to ponder in the coming months. Probably Read More
CHS Primeland
CropLife 100The 2016 CropLife 100 Report: Reviewing The Many Bulls And Bears Impacting This Year’s Marketplace
November 28, 2016
For virtually all of 2016, the nation was wholly focused on the big Presidential election. Some folks aligned themselves with Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsMissouri Governor Meets With Bayer CEO To Discuss Monsanto Merger
November 21, 2016
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon visited Bayer AG global headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany, on November 18 to discuss the proposed Bayer-Monsanto Read More
STS16 2017
SprayersHagie Manufacturing Releases 2017 STS16 Sprayer To Market
November 16, 2016
Hagie Manufacturing LLC’s largest full season applicator is now available with enhancements for the 2017 model year. Hagie is officially Read More
Wilco
CropLife 100Valley Agronomics, Wilco-Winfield To Form New Agronomy Joint Venture
November 11, 2016
Valley Agronomics LLC, headquartered in Rupert, ID, is a joint venture between Valley Wide Cooperative and Winfield Solutions, LLC. Wilco-Winfield, Read More
Latest News
HerbicidesHerbicides 2017: New Cropping Systems Set For Debut
December 7, 2016
Herbicide-resistant weed are inching ever-closer to a potentially frightening saturation point here in the U.S. Heading into 2016, USDA planting Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Acquires Michigan Ag Retailer
December 7, 2016
Wilbur-Ellis’ Agribusiness, a recognized leader in precision agriculture technology and the distribution and marketing of plant protection, seed and nutritional Read More
Fertilizer storage The Andersons
CropLife 1002016 Fertilizer Report: Another Really Rough Year For A…
December 7, 2016
In many ways, the fertilizer category cannot seem to catch a break. During the early part of the 2010s decade, Read More
R4023 Sprayer, John Deere
CropLife 100Ag Retail Equipment Report: The Green Party Continues
December 7, 2016
In the annual race for sales in the ag retail equipment marketplace, the color schemes for participants are a little Read More
Winter wheat
HerbicidesTalinor Herbicide Approved For Wheat And Barley
December 7, 2016
Talinor herbicide from Syngenta has received federal registration from the U.S. EPA, giving wheat and barley growers a new option Read More
Forage Sorghum
UncategorizedMilestone Achievement Continues For Dow AgroSciences, A…
December 7, 2016
New and innovative forage products are on the horizon driven by continued collaboration between Dow AgroSciences, a wholly owned subsidiary Read More
Palmer pigweed seedhead in cotton
HerbicidesNew WSSA Factsheet Explores Weed Seeds And Their Longev…
December 7, 2016
Did you know some weed seeds can lie dormant in the soil for more than a century and then sprout Read More
Crop InputsARA 2016: 5 Developments Worth Monitoring Into 2017
December 6, 2016
You can pretty much set your watch to it (do people even still wear watches? I know I do…but I’m Read More
Tim McCardle, ARA Chairman
CropLife 100BRANDT COO Named ARA Chairman
December 5, 2016
BRANDT EVP and Chief Operating Officer Tim McArdle has been named chairman of the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) during a Read More
Crop InputsWilbur-Ellis Receives ResponsibleAg Certification At Mo…
December 5, 2016
Wilbur-Ellis Co., a recognized leader in precision agriculture technology and the distribution of crop protection products, announces the ResponsibleAg certification Read More
Young Corn Closeup
Eric SfiligojThe Read On 2017 For Agricultural Fortunes Is Anybody’s…
December 5, 2016
As I (and others) have written in recent months, the nation has just experienced one of the most offbeat election Read More
Acceleron B-300 seed coating
Crop InputsThe BioAg Alliance Launches New Yield-Boosting Microbia…
December 5, 2016
As part of their commitment to develop and commercialize innovative microbial solutions for farmers through The BioAg Alliance, Monsanto Co. Read More
ManagementCorn and soy planting update; Takeaways from Climate Co…
December 2, 2016
AgriBusiness Global Editor Dave Frabotta Joins Paul Schrimpf for a discussion of global corn and soybean planting trends, and a Read More
Radish cover crop taproot
Crop InputsSoil Health Institute, Datu Research Receive Grant To E…
December 1, 2016
The Soil Health Institute (SHI) and Datu Research have announced a $626,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation to quantify the Read More
Mike Stern
Precision AgClimate Corp. CEO Talks Retailer Support For Digital Ag
December 1, 2016
CropLife Magazine’s sister publication, AgriBusiness Global, recently sat down with Mike Stern, CEO of The Climate Corp., following the Monsanto subsidiary’s Read More
ManagementAg Industry Comes Together To Address Climate Change
December 1, 2016
Addressing climate change — and more specifically, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture — can only be achieved through collective Read More
Young soybean field
HerbicidesLiquid Formulation Valor EZ Herbicide Available For 201…
December 1, 2016
Valent U.S.A. Corp. has released Valor EZ; a liquid formulation of the company’s leading herbicide, Valor. Named Valor EZ Herbicide Read More
Key Cooperative Marcus Construction Steel Building
ManagementThe Value Of Cooperatives In Modern Agriculture
December 1, 2016
Editor’s Note: Jaxon Mullinnix of  Lone Tree, IA, was recently named the Iowa state winner of the 2017 GROWMARK essay Read More