DC In 2010

To date, there have been plenty of opinions floating around regarding the political climate in the nation’s capital going into 2010. But perhaps no one has summed it up better then Dr. Barry Flinchbaugh, professor of agricultural economics at Kansas State University.

“What can we expect from Wash­ing­ton in 2010? Who the hell knows,” said Flinchbaugh, speaking at the 2009 Mid America CropLife Asso­cia­tion (MACA) annual meeting in St. Louis.

Looking at agriculture itself, Flinchbaugh discussed several trends that could impact the marketplace in the coming year. First is the issue of climate change. According to studies, Flinchbaugh said agriculture is responsible for emitting between 6% and 7% of greenhouse gases. Yet, when surveyed by their trade associations, 70% of the nation’s growers said they believed climate change was a hoax perpetrated by the environmental movement.

“Agriculture will not beat climate change,” he warned. “There’s an old adage in the political world: You can get into the tent and spit out or stand outside the tent and spit in. If you do that, you will get spit on. We’ve got to get into this tent and help develop this legislation.”

But, he added, agriculture may have found a friend in the White House — or at least someone who understands the marketplace. “In a recent speech, President Barack Obama said the following: ‘Small farms, the niche marketers, and the organic producers can feed the community and those who want to buy local, but only the large commercial farmer can feed the world, and a well-fed world will not be a terrorist world,'” said Flinchbaugh. “That’s coming from a man whose wife has planted an organic garden. He gets it.”

Getting Involved

According to another MACA speaker, Dr. Stephen John­son, former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator, the nation has never seen a year like 2009. “We are living in extraordinary times,” said Johnson. “We are at war; there are terrorists out there that vow it is their mission to harm us; we have the worst economical crisis since the Great Depression; the nation’s deficit is $9 trillion; unemployment is at double-digits, and we are bailing out the nation’s banks and automakers. The issues are overwhelming, and their ultimate resolution will affect every single one of us.”

In this kind of unstable environment, Johnson said it was crucial for the agricultural community to not sit on the sidelines and wait for the major issues to settle out on their own. “To achieve the best outcome for all of us, we have to be informed and be involved,” he said. “You should identify those opportunities you have to be a solution to the issue at hand and pursue those aggressively.”

Taking the political temperature in Washington, Johnson said there are a few areas that agriculture will want to keep an eye on in the coming months. The first of these is air quality.

“The Obama administration has made a commitment to climate change through cap and trade,” said Johnson. “In my judgment, I do believe greenhouse gases like CO2 and methane are a problem. How we address these without negatively impacting our economy, energy, security, and businesses is the question.”

Under the current air quality rules, regulation of these greenhouse gases would fall under the Clean Air Act. Unfor­tunately, as it is written, this would regulate all sources of greenhouse gases, which would require significant capital investment on the part of any industry covered by the act.

“The only way for agriculture not to be subject to regulation — and ridiculous regulation — is if you all help to get legislation that makes sense passed,” said Johnson. “Make sure you are taking part in the legislative process.”

The next issue to watch is water quality. As droughts become more common, particularly in the Western states, the federal and state governments will become increasingly protective of water use and quality. At present, agriculture is listed as the fifth leading cause of Total Maximum Daily Loads in the nation’s bodies of water.

“In general, homeowners and agriculture are the biggest users of water in this country,” said Johnson. “If you are a member of the legislature and you are taking up this cause, do you think you will want to go after homeowners or agriculture with your legislation? Get ready.”

Leave a Reply

Legislation Stories

LegislationVilsack Christens WinField Crop Adventure, Talks Monsanto-Bayer, GMO-Labeling and TPP
June 17, 2016
The WinField Crop Adventure grand opening ceremonies at Fair Oaks Farms (near Winemac, IN) welcomed USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Read More
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
Trending Articles
The Andersons Waterloo
ManagementFirst Indiana Facility Certified Under 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program
June 27, 2016
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced that The Andersons, Inc.’s Waterloo, IN, facility has been added to its Read More
Food IT
Industry NewsCalifornia Event Will Mix Ag And Tech Professionals To Explore IT Solutions
June 20, 2016
Silicon Valley is hot on agriculture, and an upcoming event in California will bring together the food and tech industries Read More
Monsanto Luling Plant
Eric SfiligojWhat’s Next For Monsanto?
May 31, 2016
For the folks at Monsanto’s headquarters in St. Louis, MO, it has been an eventful few weeks. Back on May 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
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
Latest News
Industry NewsCompass Minerals Names Protassium+ Sales Director
June 28, 2016
Compass Minerals, the producer of Protassium+ sulfate of potash, has named Scott Johnson director of sales for Protassium+ North America. Read More
Eric SfiligojThe British Leave Vote Impact On EU Agriculture
June 27, 2016
Like virtually everyone else in the world this past week, I’ve watched the global reaction to Britain’s vote to exit Read More
Valent David Nothmann
Crop InputsValent Names David Nothmann Vice President Of Marketing
June 27, 2016
Valent U.S.A. Corp. has announced the appointment of David Nothmann as vice president of marketing. Nothmann will be responsible for Read More
The Andersons Waterloo
ManagementFirst Indiana Facility Certified Under 4R Nutrient Stew…
June 27, 2016
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced that The Andersons, Inc.’s Waterloo, IN, facility has been added to its Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Contributes To Mayo Clinic
June 27, 2016
BRANDT, a leading agriculture retailer and manufacturer of specialty agriculture products, has pledged a sizable donation to the Mayo Clinic Read More
ManagementReport: U.S. Farmland Values On Average Continue Gradua…
June 27, 2016
Land price movement has been in the forefront for farmers, landowners, lenders and land brokers for a decade now during Read More
AdjuvantsPrecision Laboratories Introduces Intact Xtra For Use W…
June 27, 2016
Precision Laboratories announces the launch of Intact Xtra, an adjuvant designed for applicators who want to maximize spray applications and Read More
Key Cooperative’s new liquid fertilizer, crop chemical, and seed facility in Grinnell, IA stores 1.5 million gallons of liquid fertilizer and 120,000 gallons of crop chemicals.
Retail FacilitiesKey Cooperative Facility Features The Latest In Murray …
June 27, 2016
When Key Cooperative wanted to improve the overall efficiency at its new state-of-the-art facility in Grinnell, IA, it turned to Read More
Allen Summers Asmark Institute PSM Training
EmployeesAsmark Institute Sponsors 25 ResponsibleAg Auditor Trai…
June 21, 2016
The Asmark Institute has announced plans to provide 25 scholarships through their affiliated State fertilizer and agrichemical associations to help encourage Read More
Kennebec Elevator
CropLife 100Wheat Growers Celebrates Kennebec Elevator Grand Openin…
June 21, 2016
Over 250 patrons and guests were on hand to celebrate Wheat Growers’ Kennebec Elevator grand opening. South Dakota Secretary of Read More
Land O Lakes
Industry NewsLand O’Lakes To Acquire Ceres
June 20, 2016
Land O’ Lakes, Inc. and Ceres, Inc. have announced that they have signed a definitive merger agreement under which Land O’Lakes Read More
Food IT
Industry NewsCalifornia Event Will Mix Ag And Tech Professionals To …
June 20, 2016
Silicon Valley is hot on agriculture, and an upcoming event in California will bring together the food and tech industries Read More
LegislationVilsack Christens WinField Crop Adventure, Talks Monsan…
June 17, 2016
The WinField Crop Adventure grand opening ceremonies at Fair Oaks Farms (near Winemac, IN) welcomed USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Read More
Crop InputsFields of the Future: WinField Doubles Down with Agri-E…
June 16, 2016
Land O’Lakes, Inc., joined by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, today will host Fields of the Future, a live broadcast about Read More
Bayer sign
Crop InputsMonsanto Turns Back Bayer Again
June 14, 2016
Bayer AG’s bid to buy Monsanto Co. for more than $60 billion has hit an impasse that could pose a Read More
Young Corn Field
Crop NutritionNext Generation Of Nitrogen Efficiency Technology Conve…
June 13, 2016
Commodity price projections indicate farmers will continue to face tight margins again this year. Delivering higher yields and more bushels Read More
Industry NewsLa Crosse Seed Acquires Cover Crop Solutions Brand
June 10, 2016
La Crosse Seed announces that it is the new and exclusive owner of the entire family of brands of Cover Read More