ARA, Lawmakers Discuss Issues

The Agricultural Retailers Association’s (ARA) Board of Directors held their annual winter meeting last week in Washington, DC, to review and discuss critical federal policies impacting their industry. ARA board members visited with members of Congress and Obama administration officials from various departments and agencies to highlight policy issues of interest and current economic and regulatory challenges facing the nation’s agricultural retailers and distributors.

“We are in the first months of a Congress that has 69 new congressional members and hundreds of new policy officials and regulators in the Obama administration,” said Jack Eberspacher, ARA president and CEO. “Our nation is at a crossroads on key policies related to transportation, chemical security, climate change, taxes, and energy. The significant political changes in Washington, DC make it more important than ever for ARA members to educate their lawmakers and regulatory officials on the essential role they play in maintaining American agriculture as the world’s leader in food, feed, fiber, and biofuel production.”

Some of the key sessions included:

  • Charles Hochman of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration reviewed existing testing and inspection requirements for anhydrous ammonia nurse tanks missing an American Society of Mechanicals Engineers Code (ASME) data plates, and he discussed the possibility of future rule-making which would require testing on all nurse tanks. ARA is advocating for self-certification to be a part of any DOT mandatory program so retailers can train their staff to do the nurse tank testing.
  • Michael Eastman, executive director of labor law policy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, provided an overview of key labor policy changes being considered by Congress, including the so-called “Employee Free Choice Act” or “Card Check” bill which would take away an employee’s right to a federally supervised private ballot when deciding whether or not to join a union. Other discussion items included the importance of maintaining the current hours of service agricultural exemption, energy, and climate change legislation.
  • U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) provided a frank discussion on the serious economic challenges facing the nation. Roberts worked closely with ARA to include the “Agricultural Chemicals Security Credit” in the 2008 Farm Bill, which will provide a tax credit to agricultural retailers and distributors that improve security at their fertilizer and pesticide storage facilities.
  • House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) discussed why he opposed the recently enacted economic stimulus bill, including concerns with the administration’s proposal to further cut farm program payments. With the industry facing volatile crop input prices, cuts in farm programs would lead to greater economic uncertainty in the agricultural industry.
  • Troy Swackhammer with EPA’s Office of Emergency Management discussed proposed modifications to Spill, Prevention Control and Countermeasures (SPCC) rules.
  • Sue Armstrong, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s acting director for Infrastructure Security Compliance Division, provided an update on the agency’s Chemical Facilities Anti-Terrorism Standards regulations and a general time-frame for final tiering letters to be issued to “high risk” facilities.
  • Sherri Alston of DOT’s Federal Highway Administration discussed the challenges faced with financing and re-building the nation’s surface transportation systems.

In addition, ARA — in conjunction with the National Grain & Feed Association and the American Trucking Association’s Agricultural Food & Transporters Conference — held an agricultural transportation briefing session for members of Congress and their senior policy advisors. ARA board members Dan Weber of Ceres Solutions and Charlie Cott of MFA provided comments on behalf of ARA and the retail industry.

Visit www.aradc.org for more information on ARA’s 2009 policy priorities and issue papers.

Leave a Reply

Latest News
StewardshipOhio Grower: Why Water Quality Matters To Me
August 3, 2015
Fresh off the first anniversary of last summer’s unfortunate Toledo Water Crisis — which was largely attributed in mainstream media Read More
Young soybean field
Industry NewsH.J. Baker To Build New Facility In Emporia, KS
August 3, 2015
H.J. Baker has announced the expansion of its Animal Health and Nutrition division with the ground breaking of a new Read More
Young corn plants
Crop InputsNufarm Reorganizing Ag, Industrial Vegetation Managemen…
August 3, 2015
Today Nufarm announced a reorganization of its Agriculture and Industrial Vegetation Management sales and marketing organizations effective August 1, 2015. Read More
StewardshipExcellence Through Stewardship Reaches 30 Members
August 3, 2015
Excellence Through Stewardship, a non-profit that promotes the adoption of best practices and stewardship in agricultural technology, reached the milestone Read More
CropLife 100Southern States Coop Hosting Drone Flight This Friday
August 3, 2015
Southern States Cooperative — No. 9 on the CropLife 100 — is hosting an FAA-approved drone demonstration at Grandview Farms Read More
CropLife 100Aligned Ag Distributors Adds Four New Owners
July 30, 2015
Aligned Ag Distributors LLC has announced the addition of four new customer/owners to Franklin Holding Co. LLC. They are: The Read More
FungicidesReport: Sudden Death Syndrome Symptoms Appearing In Soy…
July 30, 2015
Last week, symptoms of sudden death syndrome (SDS) began to appear in April 15-planted soybeans at the University of Illinois’s Read More
Seed/BiotechAdvanta Seeds Adds New Phoenix Corn Hybrids
July 30, 2015
Corn growers in the High Plains and Western states have new options available for the 2016 growing season from Advanta Read More
ManagementTechnology and agriculture: a Futurist’s Perspective
July 30, 2015
Futurist David Zach, speaking at this week’s InfoAg Conference in St. Louis, shared thoughts on the benefits and limitations of Read More
Biofuels Plant in Lousiana
Industry NewsIdle Biofuels Plant In Louisiana To Reopen As Ammonia F…
July 30, 2015
A Lithuania-based company plans to spend $265 million to reopen an idle biofuels refinery in Grant Parish as an ammonia Read More
FFA at Monsanto Booth at the 2015 National Farm Machinery Show
Industry NewsFive Students Receive The 2015 Monty’s Plant Food Compa…
July 29, 2015
This fall, five college-bound students will have financial support through the Monty’s Plant Food Company FFA Scholarship. All five scholarship Read More
GYPSOIL Blendable Pellets
Crop InputsBeneficial Reuse Management Launches Pelletized Gypsum …
July 29, 2015
Beneficial Reuse Management (BRM) announced this week at Ag Media Summit that its GYPSOIL Pelletized Products Division will open a Read More
StewardshipOhio Water Quality Project To Determine How Much Phosph…
July 27, 2015
Researchers with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University are looking for farmers in Read More
FertilizerKoch Agronomic Services Launches N-TEGRATION Technology
July 27, 2015
Koch Agronomic Services, LLC (KAS) has launched  N-TEGRATION Technology, a process technology platform designed to enable production of enhanced efficiency fertilizers at Read More
HerbicidesExpert: IARC Herbicide Classifications Leading To Confu…
July 24, 2015
Few people in the crop protection industry had heard of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) before this Read More
ManagementFCI Trade Summit Update & Precision Tank Turns 50
July 23, 2015
Editors Dave Frabotta and Eric Sfiligoj discuss the upcoming FCI Trade Summit in Las Vegas, NV, and how Precision Tank Read More
Palmer pigweed seedhead in cotton
HerbicidesUSDA Deregulates Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist Cotton Trait
July 23, 2015
The USDA today issued its decision deregulating Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist cotton trait in the U.S. The USDA has now completed its Read More
Industry NewsVerdesian Life Sciences Showcases Versatile Product Por…
July 23, 2015
Technology has revolutionized agriculture by bringing farmers, retailers and distributors to the forefront of the digital age. To meet the Read More