ARA: How does ARA help your business?
Michelle Hummel In recent years, the amount of regulatory and public relations challenges facing agricultural retailers and others in agribusiness has grown significantly. The results of the recent elections indicate that this is not going to change anytime soon. However, if you’re an agricultural retailer, distributor or industry suppler, you have a major ally in your battle against these challenges with the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA).
For many years now, ARA has been helping your business in numerous ways by serving as an advocate for agricultural retailers and distributors in Washington, D.C. For ARA members, the association is also providing additional services to help your business through valuable networking opportunities, timely updates on legislative and regulatory issues, educational programs, business tools and consulting services on specific business and policy-related challenges your business may face.
ARA’S ADVOCACY WORK IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
ARA has a very diverse membership that sells a wide range of products and services to farmers, and there are many issues for us to tackle as a result. With the support of ARA member companies and strategic partnerships with allied industry organizations, here are just a few of our major accomplishments on behalf of the industry in recent years.
Ag Business Security Tax Credit: Initiated legislation that provides a tax credit for all pesticide and fertilizer retailers and distributors that improve on-site security at their facilities. Eligible companies could receive a credit up to $2 million annually. ARA is working to ensure this credit is extended beyond 2012.
Hours of Service (HOS) Ag Exemption: Worked with allied organizations to secure protection for the agricultural hours of service (AgHOS) exemption, which ensures the timely delivery of crop inputs throughout the supply chain during busy seasons.
Revised Hazardous Materials Out-of-Service Rates: Convinced FMCSA to revise threshold crash rate and driver, vehicle, and hazardous materials (HM) out-of-service (OOS) rates for issuance of hazardous materials safety permits (HMSP). The disqualification rate will now use eight years of data.
Chemical Facility Security: Successfully removed urea fertilizer from the DHS “Chemicals of Interest” list and raised the threshold amount for anhydrous ammonia under CFATS regulations.
ARA Model Fertilizer Contract: An important tool developed by ARA in 2009 with input from the ag retailers and the entire fertilizer supply chain. Now, ARA is in the process of developing model fertilizer trade rules.