The Legislative View

Editor’s Note: In these difficult economic times, it would be easy to overlook some key pieces of legislation that could impact the ways ag retailers do business during 2009. CropLife magazine asked three trade associations to tell us what issues they will be working on during the upcoming year.

by Susan Helmick, CropLife America

As we prepare for an Obama administration and a new Congress in 2009, we at CropLife America (CLA) are optimistic that we have built the foundation for a good working relationship with the incoming administration. We look forward to the opportunities to further the dialogue we began during the campaign season by working on areas of mutual agreement, and by establishing a working relationship of trust and transparency that will help us as we navigate key legislative and regulatory issues impacting our industry during the next four years. For U.S. agriculture, having key leaders in both major political parties coming together to advance solid policy solutions for growers and their agribusiness partners is essential to positively shaping the future of American agriculture.

Change in our industry continues apace largely because of the crop protection industry’s regulation by and cooperation with government agencies such as EPA, USDA, and others. Recent consultations between EPA and the National Marine Fisheries Services indicate a need for improvements in data sharing and coordination to better communicate and more quickly resolve issues related to assessing the impacts of pesticides. Listed species will be better protected, and taxpayers will benefit from a synchronized process that eliminates duplicative procedures and speeds results. No doubt, issues surrounding the Endangered Species Act will be on the environmental agenda of the 111th Congress and will remain a top CLA priority.

Legislative efforts to enhance security at chemical facilities will indeed be on the Congressional agenda next year as the authority over this matter sunsets in mid-2009. We continue to work closely with Congressional oversight committees to ensure that the special needs of agriculture are taken information consideration as part of any legislative package.

Considering Stockholm

Ratifying the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) is also a priority, as the rest of the world continues to take actions that ultimately affect both basic manufacturers in the U.S. and foreign manufacturers as well. CropLife America supports the U.S. becoming a party to the convention through ratification, which would require Con­gress to pass POPs implementing amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, accordingly. Congress has indicated that the necessary statutory reforms are a priority, and we look forward to working closely with policy makers on this effort.                          

The Needs Of Energy

by Kathy Mathers, The Fertilizer Institute

Here at The Fertilizer Institute (TFI), there are several issues for 2009. Despite having experienced the largest operating price increases in history from 2000 to 2007, U.S. crop growers’ cost of doing business will continue to increase significantly in the future as a result of rising energy prices and potential new climate change regulations, according to a study conducted recently by Doane Advisory Services. The study, which analyzed the energy price impacts of  Senate bill S. 2191, “America’s Climate Security Act ” (Lieberman-Warner) on eight major U.S. crops, indicates that the legislation will add $6 billion to $12 billion to total crop production costs, leading to a significant decline in farm income. While this climate change legislation died in the last session of Congress, the Doane study provides a legitimate overview of the potential negative consequences of legislation that is likely to be considered in the next session of Congress.

In the baseline scenario of the study, Doane assumes no new regulation of climate change emissions and applies forecasts of natural gas prices from the Energy Information Administration of the Department of Energy and crude oil price forecasts reported by USDA. Alternative scenarios in the study are based on the energy price impacts estimated in three scenarios of EPA’s recent analysis of S. 2191, the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008. 

The Doane study indicates that cap and trade legislation could further exacerbate the problem of rising production costs for U.S. growers. Due to increasing energy prices, operating costs for corn are forecast to rise by an additional $60.14 per acre by 2020. Potential climate change legislation could add an additional $40.33 to $78.80 in operating costs per acre of corn, resulting in a total increase of more than $100 per acre by 2020. As a share of total production costs, results for the other crops considered are equally significant.

Carbon Data

Some growers may have an opportunity to receive payments for sequestering carbon if they use specific farming practices. According to the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCE), growers in 17 states could potentially receive a credit of 0.6 metric tons of carbon/acre/year for using no-till. Specified rates in the remaining states are either lower than 0.6 metric tons or are currently not available from CCE.

At an assumed future carbon price of $30 per metric ton, which is well within the range of prices being proposed as likely by climate change modelers, growers could potentially receive $18 per acre for sequestering carbon. However, this is well below the projected crop production cost increases resulting directly from S. 2191 for corn and significantly below the total increase in corn production costs of $100.47 to $138.94 projected in 2020. Consequently, potential cap and trade legislation would place a severe burden on U.S. crop growers by driving operating rates even higher for growers who are already experiencing the highest production costs on record and will result in a significant decline in farm income.

Water Works

by Bonnie McCarvel, Mid America CropLife Association

Water issues are one of the focus areas for Mid America CropLife Association (MACA). In the region, there are three main issues.

The first issue is the Great Lakes — Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario — and their connecting channels, which form the largest fresh surface water system on Earth. They cover more than 94,000 square miles and drain more than twice as much land, and they hold an estimated 6 quad­rillion gallons of water, about one-fifth of the world’s fresh surface water supply and nine-tenths of the U.S. supply. The treaty between Canada and the U.S., signed in 1987, to address toxic substances is being reviewed with the goal to have the chemical list completed by June 2009. The precautionary principle is in play with use of “persistent releases” while Region V EPA is pushing for more restrictive limits on chemicals. There is pressure to ban or sunset chemicals and the control vs. eliminate debate is ongoing.

The second item is the Federal Water Quality Coalition. MACA is a member of the Coalition — which is a group of industrial companies, municipalities, agricultural parties, and trade associations — whose goal is to ensure that water quality programs under the Clean Water Act are focused, flexible, and founded on sound science.  The specific issues they will be working on in the year ahead include: Total Maximum Daily Load, Nutrient Management, Endangered Species Act, Mercury, and Allowable Frequency.

Reporting To States

The third issue is the tracking and reporting of the regulations and legislation by the states within the MACA region. It appears that some of the states are becoming more active in their regulation of chemicals and are not necessarily leaving the matters to be determined by the federal government. This can place more of a burden on entities that do business in various states as they try to comply with a potential patchwork of rules and regulations. 

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories
Matt Hopkins5 Bold Predictions For Ag Retail In 2015
January 21, 2015
This past year was filled with ups and downs for the nation’s top ag retailers, but what will 2015 have in store? Read More
FertilizerTFI President To Give Update On Nutrient Management Efforts At Annual Conference
January 19, 2015
The Fertilizer Institute President Chris Jahn will give the keynote address at the 2015 Ohio AgriBusiness Association Industry Conference February 4. Read More
Green Valley Ag facility
Paul SchrimpfRightsizing Ag Retail
January 9, 2015
Seeking the right balance of facilities, efficiency and customer service will make our businesses stronger and, truth be told, more capable of competing effectively with the likes of Pinnacle. Read More
Matt Hopkins10 Best New Agriculture Apps For 2015
December 15, 2014
Has the app market reached a saturation point? Consider Google Play and the iTunes App Store combined have more than Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100The Andersons Starts Venture Capital Subsidiary
January 26, 2015
The Andersons has established Maumee Ventures, a venture capital subsidiary designed to foster promising innovations that strategically align with the company’s core businesses. Read More
CropLife 100CHS Partners With Northern Partners Coop On Fertilizer Warehouse
January 21, 2015
In addition, the two companies will form a joint venture to build and operate a grain barge loading facility that will handle corn, soybeans and wheat for export through the CHS terminal at Myrtle Grove, LA. Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Move To Colorado Complete
January 20, 2015
Wilbur-Ellis Co. announces the opening of its new Agribusiness Division location in the Denver, CO, Metro Area. The new facility will host key personnel as the company shifts the base of its Agribusiness operations from California to Colorado. Read More
CropLife 100United Suppliers, McGregor Co., Five Others To Form Aligned Ag Distributors
January 20, 2015
These companies will continue to operate as independently owned and operated businesses, however, their crop protection divisions will now be formally aligned under the umbrella of Aligned Ag Distributors. Read More
CropLife 100Bozeman Named SEEDWAY Chief Operating Officer
January 16, 2015
He succeeds Donald Wertman, who will retire at the end of August 2015 after 40 years with the GROWMARK subsidiary. Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis’ Craig Bair Honored For Safety Contributions To Ag Aviation
January 14, 2015
The William O. Marsh Safety Award recognizes significant achievements in safety, safety education or an outstanding operational safety program. Read More
Latest News
ManagementOABA Conference Set To Highlight Trends, Technology And…
January 29, 2015
The third annual Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) Industry Conference is set to take place February 4-5. Read More
FertilizerThe Fertilizer Institute President Jahn Testifies Befor…
January 28, 2015
The committee hearing, "Freight Rail Transportation: Enhancing Safety, Efficiency, and Commerce," looked at challenges facing our nation's freight rail network created by higher demand, rules and regulations and infrastructure needs. Read More
HerbicidesPurdue University Acquires Technology For Herbicide Mol…
January 28, 2015
Protea's LAESI DP-1000 Instrument System will be used in Purdue's College of Agriculture, the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, for the molecular imaging of herbicide active ingredients and other related compounds to optimize herbicide applications and improve weed management.  Read More
FertilizerH.J. Baker Hires New Crop Peformance Marketing Manager
January 27, 2015
As Marketing Manager for the Crop Performance division, Usman Khalid will work out of H.J. Baker’s global headquarters in Westport, CT, and will drive new initiatives for the division. Read More
CropLife 100The Andersons Starts Venture Capital Subsidiary
January 26, 2015
The Andersons has established Maumee Ventures, a venture capital subsidiary designed to foster promising innovations that strategically align with the company’s core businesses. Read More
Exclusive state-of-the art Stueve Construction designed “Vista View” Elevated Control Room.
Eric Sfiligoj2015 Agricultural Market Read: Mixed
January 26, 2015
The agricultural market could look radically different this year, profit-wise, depending upon which segment you do business in. Read More
Edward Chell Biosafe
Crop InputsBioSafe Systems Names Ed Chell California Territory Man…
January 26, 2015
BioSafe Systems has announced the recent addition of Ed Chell as California Territory Manager for the agrichemical division, supporting the crop protection, water treatment and food safety business segments. Read More
InsecticidesBayer CropScience Introduces Sivanto Insecticide
January 26, 2015
Sivanto precisely targets key damaging pests at multiple insect life stages to prevent damage to plants and help minimize the spread of diseases from insect carriers. Read More
ManagementRetail Collaboration, Communicating Agriculture’s Good …
January 23, 2015
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss the recent creation of Aligned Ag Distributors, and the US Farmers and Ranchers Read More
FertilizerOSU Expert: Toledo Water Crisis A Turning Point For Ohi…
January 23, 2015
The August 2014 water crisis in Toledo, OH, impacted Ohioans’ views of Lake Erie algae problems by increasing the attribution of blame of algae growth on agriculture. Read More
FertilizerH.J. Baker Launching TIGER XP
January 22, 2015
Tiger-Sul introduces this next generation sulphur-bentonite product with a proprietary activator – ensuring farmers have a well-balanced nutrient replacement program. Read More
Crop InputsH.J. Baker Expands China Sales Force
January 21, 2015
Global Agricultural firm H.J. Baker announced that sales veteran Shi Dongshen has joined their Shanghai office in China. This newest hire follows the recent opening of their Lianyungang Sulphur Bentonite Plant. Read More
CropLife 100CHS Partners With Northern Partners Coop On Fertilizer …
January 21, 2015
In addition, the two companies will form a joint venture to build and operate a grain barge loading facility that will handle corn, soybeans and wheat for export through the CHS terminal at Myrtle Grove, LA. Read More
Matt Hopkins5 Bold Predictions For Ag Retail In 2015
January 21, 2015
This past year was filled with ups and downs for the nation’s top ag retailers, but what will 2015 have in store? Read More
SoftwareDeere Launches App Center
January 20, 2015
The John Deere App Center provides users the ability to search and find apps most useful to their business or operations. Read More
Crop InputsNew Syngenta Herbicide Approved In Soybeans, Sunflowers
January 20, 2015
Syngenta will sell BroadAxe XC herbicide in 2015 for use on soybeans, sunflowers and dry peas Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Move To Colorado Complete
January 20, 2015
Wilbur-Ellis Co. announces the opening of its new Agribusiness Division location in the Denver, CO, Metro Area. The new facility will host key personnel as the company shifts the base of its Agribusiness operations from California to Colorado. Read More
Crop InputsNovozymes Sales Figures Up For 2014
January 20, 2015
Novozymes announces its sales growth in 2014 was in line with expectations as sales grew by 7% compared with 2013. Read More