The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) recently submitted comments in response to the request for information on Supply Chains for the Production of Agricultural Commodities and Food Products (docket number AMS-TM-21-0034). This comment period was in direct response to Executive Order 14017, “America’s Supply Chains,” which focused on the need for resilient, diverse, and secure supply chains to ensure U.S. economic prosperity and national security.
ARA’s comments focused on the areas that have been identified by its members as priority issues, which include the following:
- Infrastructure: Investment in rural roads and bridges, railroads, ports and inland waterways, and rural broadband are critical to keep the entire food system moving.
- Crop input production and regulation: ARA has always strongly supported a science- and risk-based regulatory system which fosters innovation, values the environmental benefits that using biotechnology enables agriculture to achieve, and recognizes the long and safe track record of plant and animal breeding along with the overwhelming evidence of the safe use of genetic engineered plants and animals. By protecting existing and emergent technologies that support production, American farmers and ranchers become more sustainable and strengthen the food supply long-term.
- Energy: ARA supports federal policies that increase domestic energy production resulting in reduced production costs for crop input materials manufactured in the United States.
- Labor: ARA favors reforms to the H-2A guest worker visa program to be more inclusive and less complicated for the employer. Additionally, ARA supports reforms to the Farm-Related Restricted Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) program, more commonly referred to as the Seasonal Ag CDL program.
- Pro-growth economic policies: ARA supports policies that will aid in its members finding a more business-friendly marketplace in which to operate. There are several barriers to entry within the American tax code that could be amended to protect ag retailers’ freedom and license to operate. These pro-growth policies will also positively impact the nation’s food supply chain and its resiliency.
- Food equity: Maintaining the ability to grow and produce food is at the heart of the American food system. This effort is led by America’s agricultural retailers working with their farm and ranch customers. Every item that consumers eat in the United States and around the world starts out being grown or produced before it eventually makes its way to the consumer’s plate.
“There is no easy fix to the supply chain disruptions facing the agriculture industry and any solutions need a multi-pronged approach including, but not limited to, issues of infrastructure, crop input production and regulation, energy, labor, pro-growth economic policies, and food equity,” said ARA Director of Public Policy Hunter Carpenter.
“Any long-term solutions to addressing the challenges we face in supply chain disruptions will only be found through the continued partnership between the agricultural retailer, their farmer customers, and regulating authorities.”