What is in this article?:
- Congress leaves for recess with work left hanging
- Delay costing U.S. growers
• When Congress returns from recess one of the first items needing to be addressed is the appropriations process.
• Of equal importance to the wheat industry and other agricultural groups, Congress also did not act on three pending free trade agreements, with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, before leaving town.
• Another key priority that remains pending is H.R. 872, a bill that would eliminate a coming bureaucratic boondoggle when a court ruling goes into effect requiring additional permitting for each pesticide application, even if done in compliance with existing law.
Delay costing U.S. growers
While such a compromise would be very positive, the continued delay in passing these agreements is rapidly eroding market share for U.S. wheat growers and others who sell to the countries with which agreements are pending.
In mid-August, an FTA between Colombia and Canada will go into effect, at which time the U.S. will be Colombia’s only major source of wheat without duty-free access to the market.
U.S. Wheat Associates, the industry’s market development organization, estimates this will cause U.S. market share there to plummet an additional 50 percent and will ultimately cost U.S. wheat growers $100 million in sales per year.
Another key priority that remains pending is H.R. 872, a bill that would eliminate a coming bureaucratic boondoggle when a court ruling goes into effect requiring additional permitting for each pesticide application, even if done in compliance with existing law.
That problem was created by a January 2009 Sixth Circuit Court decision saying pesticide discharge is a point source of pollution subject to additional regulation under the Clean Water Act, necessitating National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits for pesticide applications.
The decision has been stayed twice to allow time for government agencies to implement it.
When the latest stay expires at the end of October, farmers will begin to face potentially catastrophic financial liability from otherwise lawful and routine applications of crop protection products.
H.R. 872, will amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Clean Water Act to clarify Congressional intent and eliminate the requirement for the additional permits for pesticide applications approved for use under FIFRA.
The legislation has been passed by the full House and the Senate Agriculture Committee with bipartisan support but is now facing a hold in the Senate.
NAWG will continue to work on these three priorities, and others, as the recess proceeds, and encourages wheat growers throughout the country to discuss each of them with their members of Congress during in-district meetings scheduled this month.