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

CropLife 100Pinnacle Ag Acquires Colorado Aerial Application Outlet
November 17, 2014
Ft. Lupton, CO-based Reck Aviation — a full-service chemical application company providing aerial crop applications of fertilizers and crop protection products — will operate as part of Pinnacle's AgOne Application Services brand. Read More
HerbicidesAdjusting To The New Reality Of Weed Control
November 4, 2014
Even with new cropping systems being readied for market introductions, weed control will remain a challenge for many. Read More
Seed CareSeed Care Success Stories: Prible Ag Products And Valent
November 3, 2014
These two companies combined forces to help fight disease pressures in Northern Indiana and Ohio. Read More
InsecticidesValent U.S.A., MGK Form Marketing Agreement
October 24, 2014
Valent has formed an agreement with Minneapolis-based MGK to manage the marketing and sales of MGK’s crop protection line of insect control products within the U.S. beginning April 1, 2015. Read More

Trending Articles

CropLife 100Agrium To Cut 500 Jobs, Sell Some Businesses
November 11, 2014
Among the businesses Agrium will try to sell are its micronutrients and European UAN (urea-ammonium nitrate) lines. Read More
HerbicidesMonsanto, Sumitomo Chemical And Valent Extend Crop Protection Collaboration
November 10, 2014
The agreement extends their strategic partnership in Monsanto’s Roundup Ready PLUS Crop Management Solutions platform for soybeans and cotton in the U.S. Read More
FertilizerCorn Rootworm Hybrids And Potassium Uptake
November 4, 2014
To achieve successful yields, grower-customers can’t afford to cut back on their potassium use with corn rootworm hybrids, say experts. Read More
StewardshipResponsibleAg Begins Auditor Training
October 31, 2014
ResponsibleAg auditor training is now underway at the Ford B. West Center for Responsible Agriculture in Owensboro, KY. Read More
InsecticidesNew Research Study Shows The Value Of Neonics
October 29, 2014
The study evaluated seed treatment, soil and foliar uses of neonicotinoid insecticides in the U.S. and Canada. Read More
Crop InputsPlatform Specialty Products To Acquire Arysta LifeScience
October 20, 2014
Once the acquisition is complete, Platform Specialty Products will combine Arysta LifeScience with previously acquired companies Agriphar and Chemtura Crop Solutions. Read More

Latest News

EquipmentAGCO Announces Operator Of The Year Finalists
November 20, 2014
Four custom applicators have been selected by AGCO Application Equipment as finalists for 2014 Operator of the Year, an honor that recognizes them as being among the top professionals in their industry throughout North America. Read More
MicronutrientsH.J. Baker Expands Tiger-Sul Business
November 20, 2014
H.J. Baker has created and filled two strategic positions in business development and sales within its Crop Performance Division. Read More
soybean field
FertilizerGeneral Mills Honors United Suppliers For Nitrogen Opti…
November 19, 2014
United Suppliers winning proposal detailed SUSTAIN, a consulting network that provides customized products and services for farmers using a needs-based system approach. Read More
EmployeesOhio AgriBusiness Association Awards $25,000 In Scholar…
November 19, 2014
Each year, the Ohio AgriBusiness Association Educational Trust scholarship program awards scholarship dollars to students enrolled in an agriculture-related field attending several state colleges. Read More
ManagementServi-Tech Names New CEO
November 17, 2014
Servi-Tech has named Greg Ruehle its new president and CEO. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Ag Acquires Colorado Aerial Application Outlet
November 17, 2014
Ft. Lupton, CO-based Reck Aviation — a full-service chemical application company providing aerial crop applications of fertilizers and crop protection products — will operate as part of Pinnacle's AgOne Application Services brand. Read More
Eric SfiligojMcDonald’s Message: Biotech Crops Scarier Than Cancer
November 17, 2014
Despite their potential health benefits, one of the world’s largest potato users will pass on a new biotech offering. Read More
MicronutrientsWinField Releases 2014 NutriSolutions Results
November 14, 2014
A number of significant regional and national crop deficiency trends emerged from the 2014 WinField NutriSolutions tissue sampling program. Read More
FertilizerH.J. Baker Opens Chinese Production Lines
November 14, 2014
The occasion was the official launch of the Tiger-Sul sulphur Bentonite production line of two much anticipated fertilizer products in China, T90CR sulphur fertilizer and TZinc micronutrient enhanced sulphur fertilizer. Read More
ManagementOhio Certified Crop Adviser Program Accepting Nominatio…
November 14, 2014
The award recognizes an individual who delivers exceptional customer service for farmer clients in nutrient management, soil and water management, integrated pest management and crop production in Ohio. Read More
HerbicidesSyngenta Announces Acuron Trial Plot Results
November 14, 2014
Acuron was tested at 167 trial locations across 35 states. Trials included 95 Syngenta locations, 54 university locations and 18 distributor locations. Read More
Crop InputsVerdesian Expands Sales Force
November 13, 2014
The new sales representatives will work with growers, retail partners and distributors to oversee technical training and product education. Read More
EquipmentAGCO Raises $100K For Wounded Warrior Project
November 13, 2014
AGCO Corp. partnered with local AGCO dealers across the U.S. and Canada to raise nearly $100,000 in support of wounded service veterans. Read More
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences Announces Launch Of Enlist Duo Herbici…
November 12, 2014
It will be launched in conjunction with a stewarded introduction of Enlist corn, and seed production of Enlist soybeans in 2015. Read More
FertilizerH.J. Baker Expands Tiger-Sul Business
November 12, 2014
Agricultural firm H.J. Baker has created and filled two strategic positions in business development and sales within its Crop Performance Division. Read More
Blenders13 Fertilizer Blenders For 2015
November 12, 2014
Dealers can find a fertilizer blender to deliver any speed, volume and custom mix they want. Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Vice President Receives Honorary FFA Award
November 11, 2014
Jim Loar, vice president of operations of Wilbur-Ellis’ Agribusiness Division, was awarded the Honorary American FFA Degree at the 2014 National FFA Convention and Expo in Louisville, KY. Read More
FertilizerBASF Makes Limus Nitrogen Management Available In U.S.
November 11, 2014
Reducing ammonia losses by more than 90%, Limus nitrogen management has demonstrated increased crop yields on average of 6%, according to 2013 replicated research. Read More