New Administration, New Focus

As the U.S. Congressional agenda advances on a wide range of issues, several pieces of legislation are being considered by the House and Senate that put the spotlight on issues critical to agriculture and the crop protection industry. The agenda for 2010 will be formalized during the CropLife America annual meeting in Orlando later this month, but listed here are the key initiatives on the table for the organization.

Clean Water Act

The issue of Clean Water Act (CWA) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits has taken center stage in 2009 as questions over permitting requirements for pesticide applications “on, over, or near water” threatens to hamper pesticide application.

CropLife America petitioned the entire Sixth Circuit Court to re-examine a three-judge panel’s January decision vacating EPA’s 2007 NPDES Final Rule for pesticides. CropLife America specifically objects to the panel’s classification as “pollutants” any residual left from the application of beneficial pesticides. Though the petition was denied, CropLife America continues to lead a stakeholder coalition that includes the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Cotton Council, and the American Forest and Paper Association, among others, and is working to educate Members of Congress and staff on the scope and potential implications of the Sixth Circuit’s decision.

Of great concern is that not only aquatic, but aerial and terrestrial applications could be impacted. This could put U.S. growers at an uncertain risk for liability and adversely affect agriculture as well as public health programs. While still considering its legal options, CropLife America is currently engaged with EPA in the creation of an NPDES permitting system to ensure that any general permit meets the critical needs of agriculture.

As in the previous Congress, members of the current House and Senate have introduced legislation to expand jurisdiction of CWA from “navigable waters” to “all waters of the United States.” The Waters Advocacy Coalition, of which CropLife America is a member, supports language that protects prior converted cropland. However, continued efforts to advance legislation to extend jurisdiction to “ephemeral waters” — to encompass roadside ditches to culverts — continues to be objectionable to agricultural allies and the shared concern such a significant expansion of federal authority under CWA would have on agriculture and other regulated activity.

Oceans 21

Another water-related issue being considered is H.R. 21, an act to implement a National Oceans Policy. Known as “Oceans 21,” H.R. 21 would create an Endangered Species Act-like regulatory program designed to protect the oceans with a significant inland impact on regulated activity like agriculture. In addition, this act would also codify for the first time the precautionary principle directly into a U.S. statute, directing agency action despite definitive scientific evidence.

The issue of climate change remains a priority for the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress despite less then overwhelming support for the proposed legislation. CropLife America continues to work closely with allies and stakeholders to ensure that the cost impact on agriculture is taken into consideration and existing conservation benefits/practices — like no-till farming, which has reduced overall energy consumption and soil erosion — are factored into any proposed climate change legislation that ultimately would be enacted. Though attempts to move this issue forward will continue in 2009, until a consensus can be reached, it is unlikely any such legislation will be enacted before 2010.

Progress on an issue critical to the fertilizer and crop protection industry was realized this summer when Congress approved $5.75 million to restore the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) chemical usage survey for Fiscal Year 2010. CLA and other agriculture allies have long advocated restoration of funding for the program that was previously suspended when budget limitations forced USDA to discontinue the collection of data in fiscal year 2008. NASS’ annual Chemical Usage Surveys on the use of crop protection chemicals and fertilizer in U.S. agriculture are relied upon by regulatory agencies and commodity and producer organizations alike to determine chemical use trends nationwide. The restoration of full funding ensures an accurate view of trends in use among chemicals and fertilizer in U.S. agriculture, not only for growers, who use such information to better serve the interests of agriculture, but for policy makers, USDA, and the general public. Its reinstatement prevents necessitating the outsourcing of data collection to high-cost, private, proprietary data services, which would have resulted in a restricted view of agricultural chemical use.

Scientific Integrity

CropLife America is also encouraged by the Obama administration’s commitment to enhance the integrity of scientific information used in the formation of public policy. CropLife America has been a vocal advocate of the President’s commitment to base his Administration’s decisions on the best available, scientifically valid data and evidence and ensure both transparency and the rule of law. CropLife America believes determining and setting criteria for the quality and validity of scientific evidence used to support regulatory decision-making allows for better coordination and effectiveness among all agencies that rely on the results of scientific analysis for direction — particularly those agencies that play such a critical role in developing and implementing policies that protect American agriculture.

Many complex and intertwined issues confront the crop protection industry and agriculture as a whole from energy availability and cost to conservation and climate change. CropLife America remains committed to focusing policy priorities on agriculture, and especially the regulation of crop protection products and tools that American growers and domestic and global food supply depends on.

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories

FertilizerCF Industries Confirms Merger Of Equals Discussions With Yara International
September 23, 2014
CF Industries Holdings, Inc. has confirmed that it is in preliminary discussions with Yara International regarding a potential merger of equals transaction. Read More
Seed/BiotechUSDA Approves Enlist Following Rigorous Review
September 18, 2014
Dow AgroSciences now awaits EPA registration of Enlist Duo herbicide, the companion herbicide to the Enlist traits, which is expected in the near future. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires Kansas-Based Cedar Ridge Supply
September 16, 2014
Cedar Ridge Supply will operate as part of Pinnacle's Performance Agriculture brand. Read More
CropLife 100CHS To Build $3 Billion Fertilizer Plant In North Dakota
September 5, 2014
The fertilizer plant in Spiritwood will be the single largest investment in CHS history, as well as the single largest private investment project ever undertaken in North Dakota. Read More

Trending Articles

Equipment2014 Product Of The Year Voting
September 19, 2014
Many new products were introduced to the ag retail marketplace this year. From this group, CropLife IRON and its consulting partners have selected five finalists for the Product of the Year award. Please cast your vote today to help us determine the winner. Read More
FertilizerFall Fertility 2014: Forecasting Fertilizer Use
September 7, 2014
Great crops this year have tapped the soil, and fall work is definitely called for, but how challenging will that get? Read More
CropLife 100CHS To Build $3 Billion Fertilizer Plant In North Dakota
September 5, 2014
The fertilizer plant in Spiritwood will be the single largest investment in CHS history, as well as the single largest private investment project ever undertaken in North Dakota. Read More
EquipmentNew Holland Acquires Miller-St. Nazianz
September 3, 2014
The assets of Miller acquired as part of the transaction will become part of New Holland Agriculture, a CNH Industrial brand, building on a successful four-year partnership between the two companies. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires East Kansas Chemical
September 2, 2014
Ranked 82nd on the CropLife 100, East Kansas Chemical will operate as part of Pinnacle's Performance Agriculture brand. Read More
MAGIE 2014 ShowStopper
EquipmentJohn Deere Again Wins MAGIE ShowStopper Award
August 25, 2014
For the second consecutive year, John Deere was honored at the Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE) for its new R4045 sprayer. Read More

Latest News

Crop InputsSyngenta Appoints New Chief Operating Officer
September 29, 2014
Jon Parr will succeed retiring COO John Atkin at the end of the year. Read More
CropLife 100South Dakota Wheat Growers To Add Grain-Agronomy Facili…
September 26, 2014
Planned to be constructed in Kennebec, the facility will be located along the soon-to-be rehabilitated line of heavy-rail service from Chamberlain to Presho. Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Announces Vice President Appointments
September 25, 2014
Two individuals have been appointed Vice President positions on the GROWMARK executive team. Read More
FertilizerFertilizer Industry Organizations Join Global Alliance …
September 25, 2014
The Fertilizer Institute, the International Plant Nutrition Institute and the International Fertilizer Industry Association are encouraging the industry to promote the proper use of fertilizer products to minimize their environmental impact. Read More
Precision AgARA Organized Precision Forum Hits Capitol Hill
September 24, 2014
The Coalition for the Advancement of Precision Agriculture (CAPA) hosted its inaugural Precision Ag Forum, Sept. 18, in Washington, D.C. Read More
FertilizerFactors To Consider When Placing Fertilizer With Seed
September 24, 2014
The type of crop, fertilizer source, row spacing and soil environment all affect how much fertilizer can be safely applied with seed. Read More
FertilizerSidedressing Manure Into Corn Has Promising Results
September 24, 2014
Applying manure to growing crops can boost yields, reduce nutrient losses and give livestock producers another window of time to apply manure to farm fields. Read More
FertilizerWhen To Sample Manure For Analysis
September 24, 2014
Because the goal is to collect a sample that represents the manure actually being applied, the best time to sample is during loading or field application. Here's why. Read More
Syngenta
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Faces Second Lawsuit Over Agrisure Viptera Cor…
September 23, 2014
A second company has sued Syngenta AG over sales of genetically modified corn seed not approved by China. Read More
StewardshipCover Crops Field Guide For Farmers Expanded
September 23, 2014
Farmers interested in planting cover crops to improve soil health now have an updated and expanded resource in the second edition of the Midwest Cover Crops Field Guide. Read More
HerbicidesArysta LifeScience Launches Contest For Wheat Growers
September 23, 2014
The Flush after Flush Photo Finish contest encourages farmers across the U.S. to participate through Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #FlushAfterFlush. Read More
FertilizerCF Industries Confirms Merger Of Equals Discussions Wit…
September 23, 2014
CF Industries Holdings, Inc. has confirmed that it is in preliminary discussions with Yara International regarding a potential merger of equals transaction. Read More
StewardshipProgram To Examine Ag-Related Practices, Policies To Pr…
September 22, 2014
A panel discussion on October 14 will include a significant discussion on key issues and solutions related to all aspects of harmful algal blooms. Read More
Eric SfiligojIt’s Product Of The Year Voting Season
September 22, 2014
Readers of CropLife IRON will choose 2014’s best new product over the next month. Read More
Palmer pigweed in soybean stubble
HerbicidesValent To Discontinue Gangster Herbicide
September 22, 2014
Valent will discontinue Gangster Herbicide after the 2015 growing season as growers can now deploy Fierce XLT herbicide in soybeans. Read More
Equipment2014 Product Of The Year Voting
September 19, 2014
Many new products were introduced to the ag retail marketplace this year. From this group, CropLife IRON and its consulting partners have selected five finalists for the Product of the Year award. Please cast your vote today to help us determine the winner. Read More
Equipment2014 Farm Science Review Crowd Tops 2013 Show
September 19, 2014
The 52nd annual Ohio State University Farm Science Review welcomed more than 130,000 farmers, industry professionals, FFA students and agricultural enthusiasts during the three-day event. Read More
Seed/BiotechUSDA Approves Enlist Following Rigorous Review
September 18, 2014
Dow AgroSciences now awaits EPA registration of Enlist Duo herbicide, the companion herbicide to the Enlist traits, which is expected in the near future. Read More