Farm Bill Passes; Retailers Benefit

The Food, Conservation & Energy Act of 2008 Conference Report (H.R. 2419) — also known as the 2008 farm bill — has passed in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate. Several key policies benefit ag retailers.

The House passed the bill on May 14 by a vote of 318-106 and the Senate approved the bill a day later by a vote of 81-15, a veto-proof majority in both chambers. This bipartisan legislation will continue to provide a safety net for America’s growers, promote bioenergy and conservation programs, and provide nutrition programs, according to an Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) press release.

President George W. Bush has stated that he plans to veto this bill, possibly this week. Most experts expect both houses to override that veto.

The bill offers several provisions directly targeting the ag retail sector. “We’re pretty excited about having a number of issues in, especially the one that we’ve been working on for about three years — the Agricultural Chemical Security Credit,” says Dan Weber, ARA chairman and vice president of agronomy for Ceres Solutions.

Much of the credit for the farm bill’s passage goes to the many industry organizations that worked together and on specific areas of the farm bill, according to Ken Manning, ARA chairman-elect and Wilbur-Ellis Co.’s vice president and Pacific Intermountain business unit manager. The organizations include ARA, CropLife America, The Fertilizer Institute, and the Crop Producers & Distributors Association.

This bill is a bit unique from the retailer’s perspective, Manning points out. “The farm bill is one of the most important pieces of legislation for our industry to our customers, and now, with some of the various provisions that are included, it’s very important for our retailers as well.”

The key provisions for retailers in the 2008 Farm Bill Conference Report include:

  • Agricultural Chemicals Security Credit — Initiated by ARA, this proposal will allow agricultural retailers, distributors, aerial applicators, as well as manufacturers and formulators of certain fertilizer and pesticides a business tax credit equivalent to 30 percent of the total amount paid or incurred on implementing qualified security measures at their fertilizer and pesticide storage facilities. The provision provides for up to a $100,000 in security tax credits per facility, with an overall company cap of $2 million per year. The tax credit shall apply to security measures paid or incurred after the date of the enactment of the 2008 Farm Bill.

    “We thought it was important to figure out some way to help offset some of the security costs — which are mandated now, not options anymore,” Weber says. “We’re certainly not going to be able to do that through the normal margin structure.”

  • Technical Service Provider (TSP) Program Reforms — The reforms to the TSP program should help increase its availability and range of technical expertise available to growers, ranchers, and eligible landowners to plan and implement conservation measures.
  • Grants to Reduce Production of Methamphetamines from Anhydrous Ammonia — The grant would be used to add to an anhydrous ammonia nurse tank a physical lock or an additive that would help reduce the amount of methamphetamine that can be produced from any anhydrous ammonia removed from the nurse tank.

    Weber, who has been heavily involved with this provision, says that although this issue hasn’t received much press lately, it’s still a major problem. His own company had anhydrous ammonia stolen from one of its outlets just last week. “It really looks bad for agriculture when these kind of things happen in the neighborhood,” he says.

  • Limits Speculation and Increases Transparency in Energy Markets — Since 2002, Commodity Futures Trading Commission rules have exempted electronic energy markets for large traders from direct government regulations. This legislation includes measures to increase federal oversight authority to detect and prevent manipulation and limit speculation in U.S. electronic energy markets by increasing reporting requirements.

    Weber notes that the bill also includes funding to study the transportation system, which is especially critical to smaller retailers trying to preserve rail transport.

In the ARA press release, Jack Eberspacher, ARA president and CEO, thanked Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) and other legislators for their efforts on behalf of the security tax credit provision, along with ARA’s Richard Gupton, vice president of legislative policy & counsel, “for his efforts to secure passage of this bill.”

ARA also recognized special efforts made by state agribusiness organizations in Georgia, Kansas, Montana, Minnesota, Michigan, Nebraska, and North Carolina to ensure the Agricultural Chemicals Security Credit provision remained in the farm bill. “We would also like to thank other national, regional, and state members of the Agribusiness Security Coalition for their support of this important legislation,” Eberspacher added.

The bill has drawn support from more than 500 organizations, including American Farmland Trust (AFT), a conservation group. According to a press release, AFT “fought hard for subsidy reform with the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program, and won a victory for inclusion on this new program.”

Topics:

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
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 100CHS: Driving Momentum To Help Farmer-Owners Grow
December 11, 2014
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, must capture new opportunities to Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT, Verdesian Ink Distribution Agreement
December 9, 2014
The agreement grants BRANDT the exclusive right to sell and market Verdesian’s patented Steric chemistry in the Turf and Ornamental and eastern U.S. ag markets under the BRANDT Reaction product line name. Read More
CropLife 100CropLife 100: The Colors Of Custom Application
December 5, 2014
Although many color spray rigs are in the yards of the nation’s top ag retailers, the majority of them still come in only a few shades. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Invests In Meridian Agriculture Distribution
December 4, 2014
Meridian will provide retailers with supplier-branded products and numerous opportunities to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Read More
CropLife 100CropLife 100: Entering A New Seed Era
December 4, 2014
The seed category has been re-vitalized during the past few years, and more good news (and varieties) are headed the industry’s way in 2015. Read More
CropLife 100CropLife 100: The Depressed State Of Fertilizer
December 3, 2014
Following downright giddy growth earlier this decade, fertilizer sales have fallen back down to earth the past two years. Read More

Latest News

Crop InputsNufarm Fills Regulatory VP Position
December 18, 2014
Nufarm announced today that Rob Schwehr has been promoted to the position of Vice President of Innovation & Regulatory Affairs for Nufarm Americas. Read More
Seed/BiotechReport: China Approves Viptera Corn, U.S. Officials Awa…
December 17, 2014
Chinese authorities have informed some agriculture industry officials the government has approved U.S. imports of a type of genetically modified corn developed by Syngenta. Read More
FertilizerMonty’s Plant Food Brings In New Sales Rep
December 16, 2014
Monty's Plant Food Company has hired Warren Kearns as its newest Sales Representative for the South Carolina area. Read More
EquipmentHagie Wins 2014 CropLife IRON Product Of The Year Award
December 15, 2014
The self-propelled sprayer maker has a hit on its hands with the new STS Series model. Read More
Syngenta
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Sees China Approving Contentious GMO Corn Soon
December 15, 2014
Syngenta will make an announcement when it receives official documentation from China that Agrisure Viptera corn, known as MIR 162, has been cleared for import. Read More
Crop InputsVerdesian Life Sciences Names Vice President Of Communi…
December 15, 2014
Amy Bugg will oversee the execution of all promotional strategies for the corporate brand and the complete product portfolio. Read More
StewardshipFarmers, Retailers Attend 4R Certification 4U Workshop
December 15, 2014
More than 160 farmers and ag retailer attended the “4R Certification 4U” workshop December 12 to learn more about the 4Rs of nutrient stewardship, water quality research in the area and cost-sharing opportunities. Read More
Matt Hopkins10 Best New Agriculture Apps For 2015
December 15, 2014
These new agriculture apps are certain to help ag professionals do their jobs more efficiently in 2015 and beyond. Read More
ManagementARA Learnings, Retail Buying Intentions: Welcome To Cro…
December 12, 2014
This informal video program puts news and events effecting retailers into context, and features Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj. Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Herbicide-Tolerant Technology Closer To Commer…
December 12, 2014
The final EIS moves Monsanto one step closer to the introduction of Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton and Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans, paving the way to provide access to dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton. Read More
Seed/BiotechUSDA Issues Final Environmental Impact Statement On Her…
December 12, 2014
The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is issuing a final environmental impact statement on varieties of cotton and soybeans that have been genetically engineered for resistance to several herbicides, including the one known as dicamba. Read More
CropLife 100CHS: Driving Momentum To Help Farmer-Owners Grow
December 11, 2014
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, must capture new opportunities to Read More
LegislationARA Applauds CFATS Passage Prior To Holiday Adjournment
December 11, 2014
The streamlined bill provides a four-year authorization of the CFATS program and guidance to DHS on key issues of chemical facility security Read More
Seed/BiotechBayer CropScience’s ILeVO Approved By EPA
December 11, 2014
EPA has approved ILeVO, the only seed treatment that protects the root system against infections caused by the Sudden Death Syndrome fungus and has activity against dangerous nematodes. Read More
Biologicals in Emerging Markets Map.
Crop InputsBiocontrols Could Quadruple By 2025; Will Regulators Pl…
December 11, 2014
The European experience with GMOs offers caution — and a promise — for biologicals. Read More
Crop InputsBASF Donates $75,000 To Feeding America
December 10, 2014
The donation will support Feeding America’s National Produce Program, an initiative that helps with planning, transportation and logistics to ensure fresh produce deliveries to the 200 member food banks around the country. Read More
InsecticidesHow To Avoid Aphid Infestation In Winter Wheat
December 10, 2014
The best strategy for managing aphid infestations in winter wheat — and the potential yellow dwarf diseases that they transmit — is prevention, according to a South Dakota State University Plant Pathology field specialist. Read More
LegislationDufault Installed As New ARA Chair
December 10, 2014
Dave Dufault, Vice President and General Manager of J.R. Simplot Company's Retail Business, was installed as the 2015 Chairman of the Board for ARA on December 4. Read More