ARA: Playing the best hand with cards you’re dealt
This year has dealt a series of ups and downs and unanticipated challenges from a legislative and regulatory standpoint. Several major issues such as the farm bill, comprehensive tax reform and immigration all have the potential to move forward due to some conference unity and bipartisanship in Congress. We have seen a one-year delay by the administration on the employer mandate provision of Obamacare, and continued pauses of full Dodd-Frank implementation. There was also a big win for the agriculture industry this year when EPA decided to respect the 10th amendment and finally accept Florida’s Numeric Nutrient Criteria.
In April, new challenges emerged for the agricultural retail and distribution industry after the terrible tragedy of the West Fertilizer facility explosion in Texas. Even though the exact cause of this incident is yet to be determined, the industry’s strong reputation for safety and compliance suddenly came into question after this event.
Several Senate and House committees have focused their attention on the West fertilizer investigation and review of existing federal, state and local regulations for products such as ammonium nitrate and anhydrous ammonia fertilizers.
In an upcoming issue of AgProfessional, we will provide more detail on these developments and the fertilizer and agricultural retail industry’s proactive efforts to establish a new code of practice to help ensure the future safety and prosperity of agricultural retail facilities, their employees and communities.
There is no doubt that with everything that has happened so far in 2013, this year is turning out to be quite diff erent than 2012. With all of these cards on the table, it is imperative that we keep moving forward and work together with federal agencies and Congress to lay out the best hand for the agriculture industry. It also emphasizes the for those in the agriculture retail industry to stand with ARA and get politically involved to preserve the future of the industry.
The farm bill is off to a tumultuous yet more promising start in 2013. Bills from both the Senate and the House mark an attempt at true reform in the administration of our farm and nutrition programs, but the big question has been, how much reform is actually needed?
The Senate finished its work early in May by passing legislation very similar to the 2012 farm bill with the addition of the Adverse Market Program or “AMP;” which will be an effective tool for growers in southern regions of the country.