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.”


Leave a Reply

Legislation Stories

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
LegislationEndangered Species Act, Pollinator Health Among Key Issues For CropLife America
September 7, 2015
Recently, CropLife® magazine had the chance to talk with CropLife America about the association’s key objectives and concerns. CropLife (CL): Read More
FertilizerTFI Weighs In On Fertilizer Rail Transport Bill
May 14, 2015
With today’s House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure as a backdrop, The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) registered its support for policies Read More
LegislationGov. Kasich Signs Ohio Bill For Lake Erie Water Quality
April 2, 2015
Gov. John Kasich has signed a bill aimed at protecting Lake Erie and Ohio’s water quality, reports editorial staff at Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100United Cooperative Acquires Four ADM Wisconsin Facilities
November 12, 2015
United Cooperative, based out of Beaver Dam, WI, recently acquired four grain and agronomy locations from Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Car Makes NASCAR Xfinity Series
October 29, 2015
BRANDT will join JR Motorsports with driver, Justin Allgaier, for the 2016 NASCAR Xfinity (NXS) Series season. Allgaier will pilot Read More
CHS Building exterior
CropLife 100CHS Leaders Help Shape Succession Report
October 22, 2015
Succession planning was listed as a main concern of cooperative leaders at this summer’s 15 regional CHS owner town hall Read More
Fall Harvest
CropLife 100Pinnacle Purchases Eight Regional Seed Companies
October 12, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings has announced the purchase of eight regional seed companies to advance its seed business. Pinnacle has acquired: Read More
MRM Agricultural Service
CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires CropLife 100 Ag Retailer
October 8, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings, LLC has successfully acquired the Missouri-based agronomy business of MRM Agricultural Service, LLC and its affiliates (MRM). Operating Read More
Eric Jenks, Wilbur-Ellis
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Opens Dry Fertilizer Storage And Blending Facility In Washington
October 8, 2015
Wilbur-Ellis Co., ranked No. 4 on the CropLife 100, has constructed and opened a 22,000-ton dry fertilizer storage and blending Read More
Latest News
HerbicidesBREAKING: EPA Pulls Registration On Dow’s Enlist …
November 25, 2015
EPA on Wednesday withdrew approval of a controversial new weed killer to be used on genetically modified corn and soybeans, Read More
FertilizerYara Tampa Ammonia Terminal Garners ResponsibleAg Honor…
November 25, 2015
Yara has received its first ResponsibleAg Certification for its Tampa, FL, Ammonia terminal location. This achievement demonstrates Yara’s commitment to Read More
ManagementReviewing The Top Ag Stories For 2015
November 24, 2015
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Paul Schrimpf discuss the most noteworthy events from this past year in agriculture. Read More
EmployeesAgriculture Jobs May Be Plentiful, But New Grads Are Sc…
November 24, 2015
Close to 60,000 jobs are set to open up in agriculture each year for the next five years, but there's not enough grads to fill them. Read More
Radish cover crop
StewardshipCover Crops Guide Helps Growers Improve Water Quality
November 23, 2015
A publication that teaches growers the advantages of using cover crops to improve soil health and crop yields has won Read More
Crop InputsThe Andersons’ Products Receive California Organi…
November 23, 2015
The Plant Nutrient Group of The Andersons, Inc. announced today that its Humic DG and Black Gypsum DG products are Read More
Eric SfiligojNew European Study Seems To Support Glyphosate Safety
November 23, 2015
Looking at any international news over the past few years, it might seem as if the European Union (EU) is Read More
Toggle Biostimulant corn roots
Crop InputsTwo New Biostimulants Added To United Suppliers’ …
November 20, 2015
Winfield US announces the launch of two new products in the United Suppliers portfolio for the 2016 crop season, Optify Read More
StewardshipNRDC Report: Cover Crops Contain Vast Benefits
November 19, 2015
As harvest season ends and farmers in the United States ready themselves for winter, one small change could make a Read More
Fall Harvest
Seed/BiotechArysta Launches New Seed Protectant
November 19, 2015
As spring wheat growers begin planning for a strong start to their season, Arysta LifeScience North America announces RANCONA V Read More
Crop InputsInocucor Receives U.S. Patent For Microbials
November 19, 2015
Inocucor Technologies Inc., the Montreal-based agriculture biotech company, was issued patent No. 9,175,258 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to protect Read More
ManagementSyngenta Rumors and ARA 2015 Preview
November 19, 2015
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj looks at the latest rumors involving Syngenta selling its crop protection business and talks about events Read More
EquipmentAGCO Announces Finalists For Operator Of The Year Honor
November 19, 2015
AGCO Corp. has announced the four top operators chosen as finalists for AGCO’s 10th Annual Operator of the Year program, Read More
High Plains Aquifer
StewardshipStudy: High Plains Aquifer Overall Usage In Decline
November 18, 2015
A new Kansas State University study finds that the over-tapping of the High Plains Aquifer’s groundwater beyond the aquifer’s recharge Read More
Golden Harvest Corn healthy leaves
FungicidesArysta Launches New Corn And Soybean Fungicide
November 17, 2015
Arysta LifeScience North America has recently launched ZOLERA FX Fungicide. The highly systemic, powerful fungicide delivers broad-spectrum disease control with Read More
Young corn plants in soil
Crop InputsBioAg Alliance: Microbials Targeted For 250-500 million…
November 17, 2015
Monsanto and Novozymes have announced a new 2025 acreage target that will guide the companies’ microbials business for the next Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsSyngenta Still Being Eyed For China Takeover
November 16, 2015
China National Chemical Corp. approached sovereign wealth funds including China Investment Corp. to help pay for a potential acquisition of Read More
Cedar Country Cooperative
Eric SfiligojCooperative Consolidation Continues
November 16, 2015
As I put this enewsletter column together, we’ve just put the finishing touches on our magazine’s annual CropLife 100 report. Read More