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
Seed/BiotechAgrilead Forms Distribution Alliance With Kansas-Based KALO
May 27, 2015
Agrilead, Inc. announces the formation of a strategic alliance with KALO, Inc. of Overland Park, KS. Through the alliance, KALO Read More
Syngenta Sign
Eric SfiligojMonsanto-Syngenta Could Hinge On A Judgment Of Solomon Inspired Solution
May 26, 2015
In the bible, the reputation of King Solomon’s wisdom in matters of despite comes from a tale of one child Read More
StewardshipBayer Entomologist Issues Statement On Annual Honeybee Losses
May 13, 2015
Richard (Dick) Rogers, Principal Scientist / Entomologist, Bayer Bee Care Center for Bayer CropScience LP, today issued the following statement Read More
Monsanto Sign
Eric SfiligojThe Cat & Mouse Game Between Syngenta And Monsanto Begins
May 11, 2015
Last week, I talked about how two crop protection industry giants, Syngenta and Monsanto, had engaged in some acquisition discussions. Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100The Andersons Acquires South Dakota Plant Nutrient Manufacturer Kay-Flo
May 20, 2015
The Andersons, Inc., ranked No. 22 on the CropLife 100, has purchased Kay Flo Industries of North Sioux City, SD. “This Read More
CropLife 100North Central Farmers Elevator, Wheat Growers Unification Approved By Board, Still Awaits Member Approval
May 13, 2015
The Boards of Directors for North Central Farmers Elevator (NCFE) and Wheat Growers (WG) have voted to approve the Unification Read More
CropLife 100AgGateway’s Barcoding Initiative Progressing Nicely
May 8, 2015
According to legend (or Wikipedia), the first step towards modern bar codes came back in 1948, when Bernard Silver, a Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Agriculture Acquires Minnesota Retailer
April 14, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings, LLC, ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100,  has successfully acquired Liebl Ag, LLC in Ada, MN.  Read More
CropLife 100CHS, Aurora Cooperative Complete Fertilizer Storage, Grain Shuttle Loading Facility
April 13, 2015
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading cooperative and ranked No. 5 on the CropLife 100, and Aurora Cooperative (ranked No. 21) Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Acquires Missouri Refined Fuels Terminal
April 2, 2015
Bloomington, IL-based GROWMARK and Magellan Pipeline Co. have entered into an agreement in which GROWMARK will acquire the refined fuels Read More
Latest News
Bayer CropScience, ILeVO
Crop InputsISU: ‘Halo Effect’ From ILeVO Soybean Seed …
May 28, 2015
Farmers who were lucky enough to plant soybeans and spray pre-emergence herbicides in between rain events may now be seeing Read More
ManagementCorn Planting/Monsanto-Syngenta Update; New PrecisionAg…
May 28, 2015
Eric Sfiligoj and Paul Schrimpf give updates on corn planting progress, the latest on Monsanto-Syngenta rumors and preview a brand Read More
Waterhemp in soybean stubble
HerbicidesEPA Signs Off On Monsanto’s Warrant Ultra Premix
May 27, 2015
Soybean and cotton growers looking for new tools to manage weeds will have a new, first-of-its-kind option in 2016 with Read More
Palmer pigweed seedhead in cotton
HerbicidesSTUDY: Weed Diversity Primarily Influenced By Geography
May 27, 2015
The potential long-term impacts of glyphosate-resistant crops on biodiversity of the agricultural landscape have been the subject of controversy. A Read More
Seed/BiotechAgrilead Forms Distribution Alliance With Kansas-Based …
May 27, 2015
Agrilead, Inc. announces the formation of a strategic alliance with KALO, Inc. of Overland Park, KS. Through the alliance, KALO Read More
EquipmentPrecision Tank Announces A&B Welding Acquisition
May 27, 2015
Precision Tank, a specialized tank and equipment manufacturer, announced today the acquisition of A&B Welding of Thompson, IA, a manufacturer Read More
Allied Cooperative Grain Plant
ManagementTraining Program Gives First Responders Skills For Grai…
May 27, 2015
When stored grain forms hard bridges, columns and other irregularities, those working to correct it find themselves at risk of Read More
Industry NewsBASF Sponsors Space Farming Research Project
May 26, 2015
Is it possible to produce large quantities of high quality vegetables on a space station, about 320 kilometers away from Read More
FertilizerTexas Ammonium Nitrate Bill Passes Senate, Heads To Gov…
May 26, 2015
The Texas State Senate gave final approval last Thursday to new regulations for ammonium nitrate, reports The Dallas Morning News Read More
Young corn plants
Industry NewsArysta Europe Details New Organizational Structure
May 26, 2015
Arysta LifeScience Europe recently announced a new organizational structure to leverage its scale and accelerate the company’s growth in this Read More
Syngenta Sign
Eric SfiligojMonsanto-Syngenta Could Hinge On A Judgment Of Solomon …
May 26, 2015
In the bible, the reputation of King Solomon’s wisdom in matters of despite comes from a tale of one child Read More
ManagementA New Sprayer Company & UAV Research In The Spotlig…
May 21, 2015
CropLife’s Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about a Dutch sprayer manufacturer entering the U.S. with a super-sized entry and Read More
HerbicidesFirst U.S. Sale Of Enlist Duo Herbicide Made By Dow Agr…
May 21, 2015
Dow AgroSciences has recorded the first U.S. sale of Enlist Duo herbicide with Colex-D Technology. This marks the first commercial Read More
CropLife 100The Andersons Acquires South Dakota Plant Nutrient Manu…
May 20, 2015
The Andersons, Inc., ranked No. 22 on the CropLife 100, has purchased Kay Flo Industries of North Sioux City, SD. “This Read More
EquipmentNORAC Options Coming To TerraGator
May 19, 2015
Utilizing NORAC’s Standard Control technology, boom height control is now available for TerraGators with Airmax Precision 2 and Benson Booms. This Read More
Crop InputsHelena Introduces New Soil Health Product
May 19, 2015
Helena Chemical Co. is helping agricultural producers maximize yields and efficiency with the introduction of Liquid Chisel, a new product Read More
Stewardship4R Nutrient Management Planning Certification Now Avail…
May 19, 2015
The American Society of Agronomy (ASA) and the International Certified Crop Adviser (ICCA) program announce a new specialty certification in Read More
Environmental Defense Fund logo
Paul SchrimpfEnvironmental Defense Fund: Appreciating Partners
May 19, 2015
I WAS deep in the throes of preparation for the Commodity Classic meeting that took place this past February, trying Read More