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

Sonny Perdue
LegislationTrump Formally Picks Perdue As Agriculture Secretary
January 19, 2017
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump officially announced Sonny Perdue as his choice for secretary of agriculture on Thursday, selecting a former Read More
Werner Baumann, Bayer AG, and Hugh Grant, Monsanto
Industry NewsReport: Monsanto, Bayer CEOs Among Latest to Make Trump Tower Pilgrimage
January 18, 2017
The chief executive officers of German chemical giant Bayer AG and U.S. seed behemoth Monsanto, Werner Baumann and Hugh Grant, 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
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
Trending Articles
AgriSync
Matt Hopkins17 Agriculture Apps That Will Help You Farm Smarter In 2017
December 9, 2016
Ag professionals are working smarter, not harder, than ever before. Smart farming technologies have enabled them to reduce costs, maximize 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
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
Latest News
Young Corn Plants
ManagementTimac Agro USA Acquires Michigan Ag Retailer
January 20, 2017
Timac Agro USA, an agriculture supply company specializing in high-efficiency plant and animal nutrition products, has acquired St. Louis,MI-based A&E Ag, Read More
Soybean field
Crop InputsNufarm Teams Up With John Deere Financial
January 19, 2017
Nufarm and John Deere Financial have teamed up to help farmers grow a better tomorrow. This program helps make purchases Read More
Sonny Perdue
LegislationTrump Formally Picks Perdue As Agriculture Secretary
January 19, 2017
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump officially announced Sonny Perdue as his choice for secretary of agriculture on Thursday, selecting a former Read More
ManagementPresident Trump, Wisconsin Review, and a Dow-DuPont Upd…
January 18, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj reflect on a new administration, a recent winter show, and crop protection company mergers. Read More
Industry NewsBayer, MS Technologies Get China Approval For Balance G…
January 18, 2017
MS Technologies and Bayer have received import approval from China for Balance GT soybeans. The new Balance GT Soybean Performance Read More
Werner Baumann, Bayer AG, and Hugh Grant, Monsanto
Industry NewsReport: Monsanto, Bayer CEOs Among Latest to Make Trump…
January 18, 2017
The chief executive officers of German chemical giant Bayer AG and U.S. seed behemoth Monsanto, Werner Baumann and Hugh Grant, Read More
Giant Ragweed
HerbicidesStudy: Focusing On Weed Seedbank Can Help Manage Herbic…
January 18, 2017
Researchers writing in the latest issue of the journal Weed Science provide important insights on the control of herbicide-resistant giant Read More
Management3 Financial Trends To Watch In Agriculture
January 17, 2017
I recently had the opportunity to attend a meeting of credit managers for Midwest ag supply and input companies, in part Read More
Andersons Retail Store
CropLife 100The Andersons To Close All Retail Stores; Shutdown Does…
January 16, 2017
In a stunning announcement to the Toledo area, The Andersons Inc. said on Sunday that it would close its two Read More
Trimble TMX-2050 In-Cab Display
Eric SfiligojPrecision To Lead Agriculture In 2017?
January 16, 2017
Another new year is upon us! And I’m certain I speak for many in the agricultural world when I say Read More
Corn
Eric SfiligojThe Mood From Madison? In A Holding Pattern
January 16, 2017
Last week, I had the chance to attend the annual Wisconsin AgriBusiness Classic show in Madison, WI. It’s been a Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsAccenture Helps Syngenta Transform Its Global Logistics
January 13, 2017
Syngenta, a leading agriculture company, has collaborated with Accenture to design and implement a new digital logistics operating model across Read More
Fall Creek Seth Harden The Nature Conservancy
StewardshipLocal Farmers’ Watershed Initiative: Continuous Improve…
January 13, 2017
The goal in the Big Pine Watershed Project is to more intentionally do what local farmers and responsible ag retailers Read More
HerbicidesEPA Expands Enlist Duo Herbicide Registration To 34 Sta…
January 13, 2017
The U.S. EPA has expanded the geography for application of Enlist Duo herbicide from 15 to 34 states. This means Read More
Olson Ag Enterprise
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Acquires Nebraska Seed Retailer
January 13, 2017
Wilbur-Ellis’ Agribusiness, a recognized leader in precision agriculture technology and the distribution and marketing of plant protection, seed and nutritional Read More
ManagementDeere-Precision Planting Update and the Ag Secretary Wa…
January 12, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj provide the latest on the court date for John Deere/Precision Planting and the quest Read More
Monsanto sign
Seed/BiotechMonsanto, NRGene Form Agreement For Big Data Genomic An…
January 12, 2017
Monsanto Co. and NRGene have announced that the companies have reached a non-exclusive, multi-year global licensing agreement on NRGene’s genome-analysis Read More
AGCO Custom applicator
SprayersAGCO, Asmark Institute To Offer Training For Beginning …
January 11, 2017
AGCO Corp. and the Asmark Institute are collaborating to offer a new training program dedicated to educating and developing custom Read More