TFI: Watching Capitol Hill Developments

Capitol Building

Both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees have announced plans to start the rewrite of the Farm Bill this spring. This comes after a great deal of time and effort was put into a joint recommendation to the Super Committee that would have reformed much of the Farm Bill’s commodity title, reduced funding for conservation and produced savings of $23 billion over 10 years. By way of comparison, President Barack Obama’s 2011 budget recommended agriculture cuts in the order of $33 billion over the next 10 years and House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan has advocated cuts in excess of $48 billion.

Since the Super Committee failed in its efforts to reach agreement on overall spending cuts, the Agriculture Committees’ recommendation is set aside for the time being but will likely serve as the starting point for further Farm Bill debate.

Some policy specifics that were put forth in the recommendation include $14 billion be cut from commodity programs, roughly 24% from the current baseline. This will include the end of Direct Payments, the $5 billion in annual subsidies paid to growers based on historic production and not tied to current prices or production. Conservation programs could face a $6.5 billion reduction, or a 10% decrease. Cuts to nutrition programs like food stamps could produce roughly $5 billion in savings, a less than 1% decrease.

Some of the savings generated by these cuts will be used to improve and add to the existing crop insurance program or a revenue guarantee program. There are several proposals being floated by farm state Senators, commodity groups and farmer organizations. Hearings this spring will allow for a more robust debate of these proposals and input from rank and file committee members.

Water Concerns

Florida and the Chesapeake Bay — two sides of the same coin: The Clean Water Act (CWA) requires states to establish criteria by which to judge or measure whether water quality in a particular water body or water way is meeting the goals set by the state for them. These criteria can be narrative, and therefore relying more on professional judgment, (relying on a set of biological/ecological indicators; which may demonstrate that while a water body is over a strict numeric limit, it still supports a healthy and diverse ecosystem) or they can be numeric, a hard and fast number. The environmental community contends the CWA requires these criteria to be numeric. EPA tends to agree with them. State regulators and the regulated community generally do not read the CWA in that way. The Fertilizer Institute (TFI), the Agricultural Retailers Association and several other agriculture organizations and the broader regulated community have filed suit against EPA on this issue. On a parallel track, EPA and the state of Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection are in negotiations concerning the rule. At this date, it is unclear what, if any outcome will result from these discussions. 

In the Chesapeake Bay watershed, EPA is attempting to mandate the implementation of total maximum daily load (TMDL) rules to be implemented by the six states and the District of Columbia in the Bay watershed. TMDLs consist of “pollutant budgets” for a specific water body that, when implemented would presumably attain water quality standards. States are required to submit Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs) and EPA is currently reviewing the Phase 2 WIPs and can disapprove them and then cut off federal funding (although these issues are in play in the American Farm Bureau v. EPA lawsuit on this topic). TFI has joined the American Farm Bureau Federation and others in filing a legal challenge to this rule on the basis that the Clean Water Act does not provide the Agency with authority to implement TMDLs in this manner.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Legislation Stories

Migrant farm workers
LegislationTrump: Immigration Crackdown Won’t Impact U.S. Agriculture
May 16, 2017
President Donald Trump said he would seek to keep his tough immigration enforcement policies from harming the U.S. farm industry Read More
Trump, Senate, Cabinet
LegislationTrump’s EPA Appointee Dismisses Half of Major Scientific Review Board at Agency
May 8, 2017
(Via NYTimes.com) EPA has dismissed at least five members of a major scientific review board, the latest signal of what Read More
Donald Trump
Crop InputsTrump Targets Agriculture with Latest Executive Order
April 26, 2017
(Via UPI.com) President Donald Trump on Tuesday took executive action in an effort to help grow the domestic agriculture industry Read More
Sonny Perdue
LegislationSonny Perdue Confirmed by Senate as Next Agriculture Secretary; Praised by ARA
April 25, 2017
After months without a secretary of agriculture, the Senate voted Monday evening to confirm former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to Read More
Trending Articles
Migrant farm workers
LegislationTrump: Immigration Crackdown Won’t Impact U.S. Agriculture
May 16, 2017
President Donald Trump said he would seek to keep his tough immigration enforcement policies from harming the U.S. farm industry Read More
AGCO Ratliff featured
Eric SfiligojRemembering Robert Ratliff
May 15, 2017
With all the fast-paced happenings in agriculture this spring, with multiple mergers in the works and planting season in full Read More
Case sprayer nozzle closeup
EquipmentSpray Application: A Nozzle Renaissance
May 2, 2017
If you had asked four-decade ag veteran Mark Bartel, President of Wilger Inc., just a few years ago what lay Read More
ManagementWashington Update, Dow-DuPont Earnings, and the Passing of an AGCO Legend
April 27, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about the latest Beltway news, crop protection company 1st quarter numbers, and the Read More
Crop InputsFlying Under the Radar No More, FMC Goes Big
April 13, 2017
Describing FMC as “under the radar,” admittedly, is probably a stretch. But in a snap of the fingers, FMC upped Read More
Young Corn Plants
Crop NutritionStill Hunting Yields
April 1, 2017
There’s no denying it — the agricultural marketplace today is undergoing a fundamental shift in fortunes. Not too many years Read More
Latest News
Food IT Fork-to-Farm
Precision AgThe Mixing Bowl Event Connects Technology, Food, and Ag…
May 24, 2017
For the fourth consecutive year, The Mixing Bowl presents FOOD IT, under the theme “Fork to Farm.” Action-oriented entrepreneurs, industry Read More
Photo credit: The United Soybean Board/The Soybean Checkoff.
Seed/BiotechKansas State University Researchers Find New Pathogens …
May 24, 2017
A single seed seems so simple. Put it in the ground, give it some care, and you’ve soon grown food. Read More
Soybean Field
HerbicidesNew Dicamba Herbicide Premix Coming Soon from Syngenta
May 24, 2017
Syngenta has announced the name of its new herbicide featuring the active ingredients of S-metolachlor and dicamba. Upon registration by Read More
Eric SfiligojMonsanto ‘Picks Its Battles’ by Nixing Deere Deal
May 23, 2017
Having been in the trade journalism game since the mid-1980s, I remember several watershed moments during my career. One of Read More
FungicidesSyngenta Launches New Seed Treatment Fungicide
May 22, 2017
Syngenta has announced the launch of PLENARIS seed treatment fungicide for the control of downy mildew in sunflower. PLENARIS contains Read More
Corn close up
Crop InputsMonsanto’s First HPPD Herbicide Garners EPA Appro…
May 19, 2017
Monsanto announced today that EPA has federally approved Harness MAX Herbicide, the first herbicide in the Monsanto portfolio to provide Read More
ManagementPrecision Planting Deal, China Developments, and Enviro…
May 18, 2017
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Dan Jacobs discuss the latest news on John Deere’s now dead deal for Precision Planting, China’s Read More
Soybean aphid leaf
InsecticidesMulti-state Research Reveals IPM Best Option for Treatm…
May 17, 2017
About 89.5 million acres of soybeans will be planted across the U.S. in 2017 — a record high, according to Read More
GROWMARK-2017-Interns
CropLife 100GROWMARK Names 2017 Summer Interns
May 16, 2017
Forty-two college students are exploring agricultural career opportunities this summer as GROWMARK interns. They are working at FS member cooperatives Read More
Migrant farm workers
LegislationTrump: Immigration Crackdown Won’t Impact U.S. Ag…
May 16, 2017
President Donald Trump said he would seek to keep his tough immigration enforcement policies from harming the U.S. farm industry Read More
Flooded corn in Indiana
FertilizerBoth Wet and Dry Conditions Threaten Nitrogen Loss
May 15, 2017
The weather is notoriously unpredictable, leading to challenges for planting, harvesting and applying the nitrogen (N) your corn crop needs. Read More
farmer Kip Tom
Precision AgAg Tech: On the Cusp of Something Big?
May 15, 2017
The investment and ag-tech sectors’ continuing courtship of agriculture, smoldering for three or four years now, was well in evidence at Read More
AGCO Ratliff featured
Eric SfiligojRemembering Robert Ratliff
May 15, 2017
With all the fast-paced happenings in agriculture this spring, with multiple mergers in the works and planting season in full Read More
Greg Musson, Gar Tootelian
ManagementOpinion: Shaking Your Perspective in Ag Retail
May 12, 2017
Some of you I’m sure have encountered our recently retired salesman extraordinaire, Dan Bellanger. He worked in the industry for Read More
Exterior view of CPS Big Lake facility which includes enclosed receiving and load out area
CropLife 100New Alternative Weed Resistance Traits Could Experience…
May 12, 2017
It wasn’t too many years ago that ag retailers and their grower-customers could hardly wait for new options to fight Read More
Diane Allemang and Dan Jacobs
Crop InputsFMC Agricultural Solutions, Casa Pacifica Partner to He…
May 11, 2017
FMC Agricultural Solutions is teaming up with Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families, an organization that supports vulnerable children Read More
UncategorizedWhat’s Up With ARA
May 11, 2017
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj talks with Brian Reuwee regarding what issues are on the docket for the Agricultural Retailers Association. Read More
BASF Maglis tablet retailer grower
Precision AgQ&A: What BASF’s Latest Foray into Precision …
May 11, 2017
In late April, BASF agreed to acquire U.S. precision ag player ZedX, a leader in the development of agronomic weather, Read More