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

Legvold Farm, Northfield, MN
LegislationASA Notes Progress, Urges EU To Improve Biotech Approval Process
January 29, 2016
The American Soybean Association (ASA) urged the European Commission today to continue its work in addressing delays in the approvals Read More
LegislationARA, TFI: Retailers Urged to Consider PSM Compliance
January 20, 2016
In December, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a revised Interim Enforcement Policy addressing enforcement of Process Safety Read More
United States Capitol Building in Washington D.C.
LegislationCongress Halts OSHA Overreach; Significant Victory For Ag Retailers
December 21, 2015
Congress just put the brakes on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s regulatory overreach. On July 22, OSHA released an Read More
LegislationFall Fertilizer Transportation Could Be At Risk With Possible Rail Stoppage
October 1, 2015
Failure by Congress to extend the deadline for the implementation of Positive Train Control (PTC) on the railroads could gridlock Read More
Top 100 Articles
Elburn Cooperative
CropLife 100Elburn Cooperative Members Vote To Join CHS
December 28, 2015
With 81% of eligible producers voting, 94% cast an affirmative ballot for Elburn Cooperative, a diversified agricultural retailer based out Read More
West Central Cooperative, Jefferson, IA
CropLife 100Farmers Cooperative-West Central Merger Approved
December 21, 2015
The members of Farmers Cooperative Co. (FC), Ames, IA, and West Central Cooperative, Ralston, IA, have both approved the merger Read More
Wheat Growers Innovation Center, Bath, SD
CropLife 100Wheat Growers Opens Innovation Center
December 21, 2015
Wheat Growers’ commitment in providing its farmer-owners with the latest in technological advancements now has a one-of-a-kind focal point, as Read More
CropLife 100ARA Selects The Andersons As 2015 Retailer Of The Year
December 9, 2015
The Agricultural Retailers Association today named Maumee, OH-based The Andersons as its Retailer of the Year for 2015. The award Read More
CPS Washington Court House John Deere Sprayer
CropLife 100Application Equipment Report: It Is Easy Being Green For Top 100 Ag Retailers
December 5, 2015
On The Muppets television show, Kermit the Frog is famous for singing a song about the troubles he encounters in Read More
Fertilizer Bin
CropLife 100Fertilizer Sales: Another Down Year For Top 100 Ag Retailers
December 4, 2015
In pure number terms, the fertilizer category still dominates all crop inputs/services among CropLife 100 ag retailers. In 2015, for Read More
Latest News
Soybean field
FungicidesFour Arysta Fungicide Formulations Given FIFRA Approval…
February 8, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the issuance of Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Section 2(ee) Recommendations for Read More
FungicidesAgri-Fos Systemic Fungicide Plus Receives EPA Registrat…
February 8, 2016
Vivid Life Sciences has announced the EPA registration of Agri-Fos Systemic Fungicide Plus, a highly concentrated active ingredient phosphite fungicide, Read More
Crop InputsBayer Contests EPA’s Decision On Valuable Insecticide F…
February 5, 2016
Crop Science, a division of Bayer, has announced it has refused a request by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to Read More
Wheat Field North Dakota
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Wins Seed Fraud Suit Against South Dakota Grow…
February 5, 2016
Syngenta has obtained a $25,000 settlement from Paul and John Mayclin, Mayclin Farms, Plankinton, SD, in response to their Plant Read More
ManagementOABA Annual Conference Wraps Up In Columbus
February 5, 2016
More than 300 Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) members and industry professionals were on hand to engage in collaborative learning and Read More
Crop InputsBayer To Contest EPA Flubendiamide Decision
February 5, 2016
Crop Science, a division of Bayer, announced today it has refused a request by EPA to voluntarily cancel the uses Read More
Syngenta
Seed/BiotechNot So Fast: ChemChina Syngenta Takeover Could Draw Nat…
February 5, 2016
State-owned China National Chemical Corp. (ChemChina), which plans to buy Swiss seeds and pesticide maker Syngenta, will promptly start preparations Read More
Rendering of Syngenta Seedcare Institute expansion
Seed/BiotechExpansion Of Syngenta’s North America Seedcare In…
February 4, 2016
As demand for seed treatment knowledge and products grows among farmers, retailers and others in the seed industry, Syngenta is Read More
Soybean Field
Industry NewsArysta LifeScience Strengthens Sales Team
February 4, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced three new personnel additions: Jake Cook and Peter White are Territory Sales Managers for Read More
Davor Pisk Syngenta COO
Crop InputsSyngenta COO: Why ChemChina Offer Beat Monsanto’s
February 4, 2016
Syngenta Chief Operating Officer Davor Pisk says he is confident the proposed acquisition by ChemChina will ultimately help preserve choice Read More
Young corn plants in soil
Crop InputsKoch Biological Solutions Invests In Pathway Biologic
February 4, 2016
An affiliate of Koch Biological Solutions, LLC has acquired a minority equity position in, and entered into collaboration with, Pathway Read More
Crop InputsABG: China Signs Off On Monsanto’s Roundup Ready …
February 3, 2016
Monsanto Co. on Wednesday announced it plans to launch its Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans in time for the 2016 Read More
Syngenta headquarters in Basel, Switzerland
Crop Inputs6 Things To Know About The ChemChina-Syngenta Deal
February 3, 2016
After months of rumors and speculation, Syngenta has announced that ChemChina has offered to acquire the Swiss-based company. “In making Read More
FertilizerPhosphorus: Is Band Or Broadcast Application The Better…
February 3, 2016
Is band or broadcast application the better method when it comes to phosphorus? The answer to this question depends mostly Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsChemChina Nearing Deal To Buy Syngenta For Record $43 B…
February 3, 2016
China National Chemical Corp. is nearing an agreement to buy Swiss pesticide-and-seeds-maker Syngenta AG for about 43.7 billion francs ($42.8 Read More
Herbicides2015 ASA Trials Demonstrate Valent Fierce XLT Herbicide…
February 2, 2016
Valent U.S.A. today announced that new Fierce XLT Soybean Herbicide ranks in the top tier among growers for length of Read More
Crop Protection Products in storage
Paul SchrimpfCrop Input Selling: Return Of The Price List
February 2, 2016
It was a good 15 years ago, shortly after I first started writing for this esteemed publication, that it all Read More
Potash storage at Growmark
FertilizerThe Phosphate And Potash Outlook For 2016
February 2, 2016
Like other commodities, prices of the leading plant nutrient products dropped sharply in 2015. At this writing, the price of Read More