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
2016 ShowStopper | Case IH Patriot 4440 Sprayer
Equipment5 Show-stopping Products On Display At 2016 MAGIE
August 26, 2016
For 10 years now, visitors to the yearly Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE) show have been tasked with voting for Read More
Crop InputsDuPont Pioneer: Corn Belt P and K Levels Lagging
August 24, 2016
A new DuPont Pioneer study conducted across 12 Corn Belt states demonstrates that growers may be leaving profit potential in Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsCould a Monsanto-Bayer Union Be 2 Weeks from Fruition?
August 24, 2016
Via STLToday.com (The St. Louis Post-Dispatch): Merger talks between Monsanto Co. and Bayer AG are advancing after a series of Read More
EquipmentCase IH Debuts Nutri-Tiller 955 Strip-Till Applicator
August 24, 2016
With strip-till continuing to expand across new acres, Case IH designed the new Nutri-Tiller 955 strip-till applicator to help producers Read More
EquipmentCase Launches Aim Command FLEX, 25th Anniversary Patrio…
August 24, 2016
Case IH announces new AIM Command FLEX advanced spray technology for greater application accuracy, as well as special 25th Anniversary Read More
ASMARK 2016 Retailers Live! Tour - CPS
CropLife 100CPS Acquires Texas Retail Operation
August 23, 2016
Crop Production Services (CPS) has acquired the assets of Larry’s Chemical and Spray, Inc., for an undisclosed amount in an Read More
PrecisionAg Video Conference
Precision AgVideo: PrecisionAg Vision Conference
August 22, 2016
A Strategic Conference Focused on the Future of Farm Digitization and Precision Agriculture Visit precisionagvision.com and register today! Read More
Young Corn Plants
Industry NewsOABA Welcomes Nicole Wallace As Communication & Adm…
August 22, 2016
The Ohio AgriBusiness Association has hired Nicole Wallace as its communication and administrative coordinator. Wallace will help provide comprehensive communication Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsChemChina, Syngenta Receive Clearance From CFIUS
August 22, 2016
China National Chemical Corp. (ChemChina) and Syngenta have announced that the companies have received clearance on their proposed transaction from the Read More
ManagementAg Industry Shows and Rumors
August 18, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about the upcoming trade show schedule, crop protection merger updates, and content for Read More
MAGIE 2015
EquipmentMAGIE Takes The Pulse Of The Ag Retail Industry
August 18, 2016
Every year, one of the major highlights of my career as an ag journalist is attending the Midwest AG Industries Read More
MAGIE 2015 Overview
EquipmentPride In Professionalism On Display At MAGIE
August 18, 2016
The Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association (IFCA) is proud to partner with CropLife IRON and continue the tradition of bringing Read More
SprayersJenner Ag To Debut 25th Anniversary Edition Case IH Pat…
August 18, 2016
Visitors at the 2016 Midwest Ag Industries Exhibition (MAGIE) in Bloomington, IL, will have a unique photo opportunity, as Jenner Read More
Crop InputsEU Glyphosate Controversy Heating Up Yet Again
August 17, 2016
The battle over glyphosate rages on in Europe, creating a lot of question marks over whether the herbicide will continue Read More
Industry NewsNew Partnership Provides Improved Representation At Ohi…
August 16, 2016
The Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) has retained Belinda Jones of Capitol Consulting Group, Inc. (CCG) for government relations work in Read More
Tissue testing
FertilizerMosaic: 6 Tips For Better Crop Nutrition In Corn
August 16, 2016
Late in the crop season is a good time to assess visual nutrient deficiencies and ensure early- and mid-season deficiencies Read More
WebinarsWebinar Schedule
August 14, 2016
Register for one of our upcoming Webinars or access our archive of past Webinars to view recordings of presentations that may be of interest to you. Read More
Dow DuPont
Crop InputsDowDuPont Update: EU Takes Closer Look at Merger
August 12, 2016
Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont Co. face months of haggling with European Union antitrust regulators who opened an in-depth probe Read More