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
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
Farm Bill
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
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100Pinnacle Expands Sanders Brand In The South
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle has acquired Hopkins Seed and Chemical in Qulin, MO, which expands the company's Sanders brand to nine Southern states. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Launches New Providence Agriculture Location In Indiana
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings — ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100 — has established a new retail location in New Castle, IN, which will operate as part of Pinnacle's Providence Agriculture brand. Read More
CropLife 100Cooperative CHS Returns $518 Million To Owners
February 23, 2015
The 2015 cash return to owners is based on CHS net income of $1.1 billion, the company's second highest on record. Read More
corn field
CropLife 100The Andersons’ Humic DG Now Available In Canada
February 13, 2015
The Andersons, Inc. Turf & Specialty Group has announced its Humic DG product is now available to customers in the Canadian turf, agriculture and horticulture markets. Read More
Farmer on tablet
CropLife 100Southern States Co-op: An Inside Look At Our Aerial Imagery Program
February 8, 2015
Now is as good a time as any to explore the basics of what a retail aerial imagery program looks like today. Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Inks Satellite Imagery Agreement
February 3, 2015
Wilbur-Ellis Company has reached an agreement with Planet Labs to bring satellite imagery to the AgVerdict software platform. Read More
Latest News
CropLife 100Pinnacle Expands Sanders Brand In The South
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle has acquired Hopkins Seed and Chemical in Qulin, MO, which expands the company's Sanders brand to nine Southern states. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Launches New Providence Agriculture Location I…
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings — ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100 — has established a new retail location in New Castle, IN, which will operate as part of Pinnacle's Providence Agriculture brand. Read More
Management2,4-D Celebrates 70 Years; GROWMARK Uses Super Bowl Ad …
February 27, 2015
Jim Gray, executive director of the 2,4-D Research Task Force, lays out planned activities to mark the chemistry’s 70th anniversary. Read More
HerbicidesUniversity Of Arkansas Flag The Technology Program Adds…
February 27, 2015
Started in 2010, the Flag the Technology program provides a visual reference for applicators to distinguish between fields planted with different herbicide-tolerant trait technologies. Read More
Luckey Farmers, Inc.’s Berkey Farm Center
Industry NewsLuckey Farmers’ Berkey Branch Certified In 4R Nut…
February 26, 2015
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced Luckey Farmers Inc.’s Berkey Farm Center in northwest Ohio has been added to its growing list of nutrient service providers to achieve certified status. Read More
Crop InputsWinField Unveiling NutriVision Technology, Ascend Dry F…
February 24, 2015
New for 2015 are NutriVision Technology, a unique tool for monitoring in-season plant nutrient availability, and Ascend WSG plant growth regulator, a new dry formulation of Ascend plant growth regulator. Read More
FertilizerNew Formulation Of NutriSphere-N Protects High Volume U…
February 24, 2015
Verdesian Life Sciences is launching NutriSphere-N HVTM, a new polymer formulation of the proven NutriSphere-N Nitrogen Fertilizer Manager that protects high-volume applications of UAN. Read More
EquipmentIowa Ag Secretary Northey Names Hagie Water Quality Lea…
February 24, 2015
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey has named Hagie Mfg. as a recipient of the Secretary’s Water Quality Initiative (WQI) Leader Award. Read More
FungicidesEvito Fungicide Gives Canadian Wheat Growers New Diseas…
February 24, 2015
EVITO fungicide from Arysta LifeScience North America gives Canadian wheat and barley growers a new option for disease control. Read More
Eric SfiligojThe Commodity Classic Turns 20
February 23, 2015
Two decades in, this annual gathering of all things agriculture has become a must-see event. Read More
CropLife 100Cooperative CHS Returns $518 Million To Owners
February 23, 2015
The 2015 cash return to owners is based on CHS net income of $1.1 billion, the company's second highest on record. Read More
ManagementCropLife Retail Week: On The Road Edition
February 20, 2015
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss their recent trips to the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville and the Read More
Crop InputsLand O’Lakes Acquires FLM+ Assets
February 19, 2015
FLM+ will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Land O'Lakes, Inc., and the company will retain its employee base after closing of the deal, which is scheduled for the second quarter of the year. Read More
Seed/BiotechUnited Suppliers, Stine Seed Form Marketing Alliance
February 19, 2015
The new alliance will greatly expand sales opportunities for Stine Seed with the United Supplier Seed Link Owners. Read More
Crop InputsVilsack To Deliver Commodity Classic Keynote Address
February 19, 2015
The secretary will deliver a keynote address to several thousand farmers and ag allies during the event's General Session, to be held Friday, February 27, in Phoenix, AZ. Read More
Crop InputsSoybean Storage Tips
February 19, 2015
On-farm storage of soybeans requires some special considerations compared to corn. Read More
Monsanto Sign
Crop InputsBioAg Alliance Delivers Promising Field Trial Results
February 19, 2015
In its first full year of field trials, the BioAg Alliance reported that the top 10 microbial strains tested in corn and soybeans showed very promising results. Read More
National Farm Machinery Show overview
EquipmentNational Farm Machinery Show Attendance Up By 16K
February 18, 2015
The 2015 event saw the second highest attendance total of all time as 310,589 attendees that included exhibitors and agribusiness professionals traveled to the Kentucky Exposition Center to participate in the nation’s largest indoor ag trade show. Read More