The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today (June 4) describing the risk of unintended consequences that the disaster relief legislation will have on agribusiness and requesting him to implement legislation in a way that will not harm agricultural retailers and distributors.
While ARA wholeheartedly supports the efforts of congress to pass supplemental relief to farmers across the country devastated by natural disasters, we have concerns regarding the negative impact the widespread prevented planting payments will impose on the agribusiness community.
"Our members will always have the farmers' best interest at heart because if farmers don't succeed, retailers don't succeed," said ARA President and CEO Daren Coppock.
Should farmers choose not to plant in 2019 and instead take prevented planting compensation, the retailer will be left holding product which will either drop in value, or worse, be of no value at all, as in the case of treated seed. Therefore, encouraging farmers to alter their planting intentions drastically will have a detrimental impact on agricultural retailers and other businesses serving farmers.
"We believe the American farmer wants nothing more than to be able to put crops in the ground and produce a plentiful harvest, and this action would hopefully assist to that end," said Coppock in the letter.
Instead, ARA recommends delaying the prevented planting date in the affected states for the 2019 growing season as an excellent resolution to accommodate grower needs while also considering the interest of agricultural retailers who serve the growers.
ARA is working to arrange further meetings with USDA and will keep the public updated.