Source: Agricultural Retailers Association

The Agricultural Retailers Association co-signed a letter with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and 25 other organizations opposing legislation on chemical facility security.

The letter, which states opposition to HR 2868, the "Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Act of 2009," was sent up to the House Energy & Commerce Committee on Sept. 28.

It has been brought to ARA's attention that the committee is considering adding a provision to HR 2868 that would exempt farmers from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards regulations. DHS has currently provided farmers with an indefinite extension from being required to comply with the CFATS rules. It is ARA's current policy priority that retailers and farmers should be treated equally under these DHS regulations.

ARA is seeking comments from its members if ARA should oppose efforts in Congress to provide a statutory exemption for farmers from the DHS chemical security rules. CropLife America and The Fertilizer Institute appear to be leaning in support of language to exempt farmers.

If ARA does publicly fight a farmer exemption, it could create issues for ARA with farmer and commodity organizations. ARA would expect ARA members to also aggressively weigh in with their members of Congress on this issue as well.

If farmers end up being exempt from these security rules, it could adversely impact retailers and alter the distribution patterns for some key products on the DHS chemicals of interest list such as anhydrous ammonia with an increase in direct product shipments to large farm operations.

View a copy of the letter.