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The Missouri Agribusiness Association is committed to the agribusiness industry within the Show-Me State by offering services that will enhance the day-to-day operations of agribusinesses now and in the future.

 

MO-AG's mission simply states, "The mission of the Missouri Agribusiness Association (MO-AG) is to advocate for the business of agriculture while offering services and networking opportunities for the agribusiness community."

 

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News You Can Use

 

MO-Pat Johnson, Manager of Fertilizer-Nutrition Compliance for Crop Production Services, testifies in support of SB469.  Seated next to Johnson is the sponsor of SB469, Senator Brian Munzlinger.  Seated directly behind Johnson is Bill Jackson of AGRIServices of Brunswick who also testified in support of SB469.  Seated next to Jackson is Ronnie Russell, Missouri Soybean Association, and next to Russell is Jay Fischer, Missouri Corn Growers Association.  Both Russell and Fisher also testified in support of SB469 on behalf of their respective associations.
 
This week the Missouri Senate Agriculture Committee considered Senate Bill 469.  SB469 changes Missouri's fertilizer law by abolishing the current fertilizer advisory council and establishing a new fertilizer control board.  SB469 received support from Missouri agriculture with many witnesses testifying in support.  There were no witnesses to testify in opposition to SB469.
 
MO-AG President Steve Taylor testified on behalf of MO-AG.  In his testimony, Taylor focused on the need for a Fertilizer Control Board with authorities established by state law rather than the current 'advisory council' whose role under current state law is advisory.  Under SB469, the new Board would be provided the authority to conduct 'general supervision of the administration and enforcement of all rules and regulations'.  Taylor also noted how the University, at the request of others, recently proposed increasing the fertilizer fee to $1.00 per ton, a move that would increase revenues to the program to over $1.0 million per year.  Taylor noted:
 
MO-AG supports efforts to reduce nutrient runoff and specially endorses the fertilizer stewardship program, the '4R's, and advocated to MDNR that it be included in Missouri's Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy.  Regarding the proposed fee increase, MO-AG recognizes the potential need for additional money to promote stewardship and MO-AG's current position is that we do not actively oppose a fee increase.  However, we support SB469 because it would give Missouri farmers and the fertilizer industry, the ones who pays the fees, greater assurance of influence over how Missouri's fertilizer program operates and how fees are expended, now and in the future.
 
During questioning, Senators asked Taylor how SB469 could potentially change current regulations on the fertilizer industry.  Taylor stated that SB469 would set penalty limits and allow for appeals of penalties.  Otherwise, SB469 shifted authority for regulatory oversight from the Director to the new Fertilizer Control Board.
 
Bill Jackson provided committee members valuable details about how Missouri's fertilizer program needs to reform the manner in which it administers its inspection program.  He provided the Committee real world examples concerning a lack of responsiveness by the fertilizer program and he explained how important timeliness is to insure deficient fertilizer is not sold and applied to farmer's fields.  As manager of compliance for all of CPS, Pat Johnson drew upon her wealth of experiences in dealing with fertilizer control programs not only in Missouri but in many other states as well.  In addition, before having her current position at CPS, Johnson previously worked as a control official herself. 
 
The witnesses for Missouri Corn Growers Association and Missouri Soybean Association testified in support of SB469.  They noted how SB469 would provide farmers, and the fertilizer industry, more direct control of programs and over the use of the money generated by the fees.  They particularly noted the challenges presented from environmental concerns here in Missouri and in other states and how the fertilizer program needs to address those concerns (editor's note:  see related stories below about Iowa's lawsuit and nutrient reduction strategy).  Missouri Farm Bureau testified that they have a keen interest in ensuring the state's fertilizer program is operated in an efficient manner and stated that it is vitally important that all parties understand the importance of accurate and timely analysis of fertilizer samples.
 
The Dean of the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources (CAFNR) Dr. Tom Payne is Director of the Missouri Fertilizer Program.  Dean Payne testified not in support or opposition of SB469, but for informational purposes.  During questioning, some of the Senators took considerable time asking Dean Payne why more actions hasn't been taken to address the concerns.  Dean Payne's testimony generally acknowledged some of the concerns expressed about the administration of the program.  As Director of the program, Dean Payne told the Senators that he was committed to making the program work better for farmers and the fertilizer industry.  Dean Payne also reiterated, as noted above, that the University only proposed the fee increase at the request of the industry. In addition to SB 469, Click here to see all legislation of interest.

 

On the banks of the Missouri River in Jefferson City, Steve Taylor, President of Missouri Agribusiness Association, speaks at a press conference regarding WOTUS.  In the background, Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer, and representatives of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives, the Missouri Public Utility Alliance, the Missouri Land Improvement Contractors Association, the Missouri Farm Bureau, Missouri agricultural commodity groups and many others look on as Taylor discusses what 'troubled waters' WOTUS is for all of us
 
At a press conference this week, MO-AG President Steve Taylor thanked Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler and Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer for their efforts to stop WOTUS (Waters of the United States), the federal rule proposed by the Corps of Engineers and EPA.  Despite what the agencies say, a plain reading of the 300+ page proposed rule shows it will greatly expand the agency's jurisdiction over surface waters which will bring more regulation and litigation to Missouri, to agriculture, and to businesses everywhere.  Taylor expressed MO-AG's support for HR 1732, the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act.  Taylor stated that a key point of HR1732 is that it reaffirms the rights and authority of states.
 
While praising Hartzler, Luetkemeyer, and legislation such as HR 1732, Taylor also took this occasion to thank two Democrat leaders.  Taylor stated that "here in Missouri, the concern over WOTUS is bi-partisan.  Last fall, Governor Jay Nixon wrote a letter to EPA and the Corp where he expressed the same concerns which are addressed in HR 1732, primarily that the federal government is infringing on the rights and authority of states."  Governor Nixon's November 14th letter stated that "Congress intended that the states bear primary responsibility to protect water resources.  Unfortunately, the proposed rule could infringe upon that responsibility without extensive engagement, consultation, and guidance from the states."  Governor Nixon's letter went on to say how Missouri is a model for EPA and the Corps.  Specifically, the letter stated "Missouri's process in classifying its waters provides an example of the engagement process EPA and the Corps should employ in developing a revised WOTUS rule" (To see a copy of Governor Nixon's letter, CLICK HERE)
 
Taylor also took the occasion to thank Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill for breaking with President Obama and joining 4 other Senate Democrats in voting for a budget resolution that prevents the Corps and EPA from implementing the proposed rule.  Taylor noted that he hopes that other Senators would follow Senator McCaskill's lead so that President Obama's threatened veto of any legislation regarding WOTUS could be overridden.  (For the latest on WOTUS, see article below)
 
 
Being just a few miles from the family farm, the press conference became a family affair for MO-AG President Steve Taylor.  Seen here are Taylor's mom and dad, Jerry and Margaret Taylor, along with daughter Madison, and Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer
 
Taylor concluded his remarks by making the issue personal.  Taylor stated, "Today, we are in Callaway County where my family farms just a few miles from here.  I'm happy that some of my family are here with us today.  Growing up on the farm, I recall how we cared about the environment.  Back in the 1970s, Mom and Dad received the "Conservationist of the Year" award for building waterways, sediment impoundments, minimized tillage to prevent erosion and sedimentation and to improve water quality.  They did it by working with their 'County' Soil and Water District and by using 'State' parks and soils sales tax funding.  Working with Counties, working with States, and other federal agencies in a 'Voluntary' manner, farmers and ranchers have made and are making tremendous progress protecting the environment.  We don't need the EPA and Corp's proposed rule 'mucking that up'.
 
Agriculture Wins at the Missouri Supreme Court
 
MO-AG Thanks A.G. Chris Koster
Back in the May 2011 edition of the MO-AG Minute, MO-AG President Steve Taylor praised legislation that put parameters upon nuisance lawsuits stating, "Another big win for Missouri agriculture was the passing of SB187 which puts reasonable limits on out of control lawsuits.  Out-of-state lawyers had made their intentions well known that Missouri agriculture was in their crosshairs and they saw us as an easy target given our lax laws governing nuisance lawsuits.  When Governor Nixon signed SB187 into law, major fixes were put into place that allows Missouri's agricultural economy to prosper while still allowing every citizen's right to their day in court."
 
SB187 (now signed into law and contained within RSMo 537.296) was important legislation that MO-AG supported in 2011.  In 2012, MO-AG presented Sen Brad Lager and Rep Casey Guernsey with its 'Advocate for Agribusiness' award in part for passing SB187 in 2011.  Unfortunately, but not totally unexpected, nuisance lawsuit attorneys attacked this new important law.  The Speer Law Firm in Kansas City, known for specializing in nuisance lawsuits against livestock agriculture, took a case regarding Bohr Farms LLC, which operates a production facility capable of raising more than 4,000 hogs owned by Cargill Pork LLC.  The lawsuit alleged that emissions from the facility constituted a nuisance that substantially impairs the neighbors' use and quiet enjoyment of their property.  They attacked SB187 by alleging SB187 (RSMo 537.296) authorized an unconstitutional private taking under the state constitution.
 
The circuit court ruled in favor of the hog operations and against Speer.  The case was appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court.  The Missouri Supreme Court affirmed the lower court's ruling.
 
MO-AG President Steve Taylor commented how he was happy to see that the opinion was unanimous and that there were no dissenting opinions.  He stated that he thought it was very helpful to have the Attorney General's office weigh in and file an amicus brief in the case.  "As Attorney General, Chris Koster is Missouri's attorney.  The support of the AG's office on an issue of constitutionality is crucial."  Taylor continued, "The fact that AG Koster weighed in on this case was just one of the reasons MO-AG presented Chris Koster with the MO-AG "Advocate for Agribusiness award at our December 2014 Conference."
 
 
MO-AG Chairman Duane Simpson (left) presents the MO-AG Advocate for Agribusiness Award to Attorney General Chris Koster at the 2014 MO-AG Convention

Status of WOTUS
A bill to bar the EPA from making changes to federal Clean Water Act jurisdiction, was approved by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee April 15.  The Regulatory Integrity Protection Act (H.R. 1732) would force the agencies to withdraw a rule clarifying which waters are considered "waters of the U.S. (WOTUS)"  Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), who co-sponsored the bill with Rep. Bob Gibbs (D-Ohio), said that the bill was another chance to stop a rulemaking he said is "scaring the hell out of people."  Gibbs said. "This bill gives the agencies and their state partners and stakeholders the opportunity to work together and develop a rule that was intended to create clarity."  An amendment to include in the bill's language "continued recognition of Federal deference to State primacy in the development of water law," offered by Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), was approved by a voice vote, though Huffman voted against the bill.  In other House action to stop the implementation of the water rule, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water approved a FY2016 spending bill with a policy rider to bar changes to jurisdiction.
 
In the Senate, an amendment by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) would ensure that the EPA use scientific standards and retain exemptions for certain agricultural.  Don Parrish, of the American Farm Bureau Federation, termed the Stabenow amendment as "meaningless" and an attempt by supporters of the administration's rulemaking to marginalize the real concerns of farmers.  Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) offered an amendment, which passed 59-40, that would limit EPA jurisdiction over certain waters.  Both amendments called upon the agencies to acknowledge the need to maintain existing agriculture exemptions and instructed appropriators to include in any funding bill a directive for the agencies to "establish bright lines for Federal jurisdiction, and to create clear and unambiguous exemptions" for waters deemed outside the scope of the waters of the U.S. rule.  The votes in support of the amendments are largely symbolic as they attach to the non-binding Senate budget resolution, but they still can be construed as a measure of how lawmakers plan to respond once the rule is issued in final form.  Five Democrats-Sens. Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Claire McCaskill (Mo.)-joined 53 Republicans and independent Sen. Angus King (Maine) in voting for the Barrasso amendment.
 
"The Republicans don't trust the administration to address the concerns and remain unpersuaded by their reassurances," according to Susan Bodine, chief counsel for the Environment and Public Works Committee.  "We don't see how they address the concerns without reproposing the rule. The fact that they aren't prepared to repropose the rule tells us they won't address the concerns," Bodine said.  Laura Atcheson, majority counsel to the Environment and Public Works Committee, said Republicans are getting ready to introduce a bill soon that is being crafted with the assistance of some Democratic senators. Unlike the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act (H.R. 1732), the upcoming Senate bill would give instructions to the agencies on how to rewrite the bill.  "We don't want to send it back to them and have them do the same thing again," Atcheson said. Source:  BNA
 
Ag Aviators Don't See Drones Applying Pesticides
It will be many years before the agriculture industry applies pesticides with remotely piloted drones instead of crop dusting airplanes, said Andrew Moore, executive director of the National Agricultural Aviation Association.  He stated that a number of logistical obstacles, as well as regulatory uncertainties, will make it difficult if not impossible for pesticide applicators to use drones.  "I think we're decades away," Moore said.
 
Though they haven't caught on in the U.S. yet, pesticide applicator drones are used widely in Japan.  There, 90 percent of pesticides are applied via drones, mainly using a compact type ofdrone with a four-gallon capacity and a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour, according to data Moore cited.  This works well in a country where the average size of a farm is less than four acres, he said. But in the U.S., where the average farm is more than 100 times larger, drones with larger capacity are needed.  Currently, most drones with payloads of the size that would be adequate for U.S. farms are cost prohibitive in agricultural settings, according to Moore.  "I think it will be used more from a crop sensing standpoint and an aerial imaging standpoint than a [pesticide] application standpoint," he said.
 
Overall, Moore said his organization would like to see the FAA regulate agricultural drones the same way, or at least similarly, to how it regulates piloted pesticide aerial applicators.
Without this high regulatory bar, Moore predicted that using drones to apply pesticides will pose too much of a financial risk to applicators and farmers, who could both be hit with
multi-million dollar lawsuits in the event of a collision with aircraft or other types of accidents.  "It's going to take a long time before you're ever going to see something of the size and scope and the legal statutory framework that's going to allow for drone applications," he said. Source: BNA

MO-AG Applauds Passage of Legislation
Commercial pesticide applicators will feel the burden of regulations become slightly lighter now that Governor Jay Nixon has signed Senate Bill 12 into law. SB12 streamlines the process by which certified commercial applicators must document evidence of financial responsibility.   The new processes will save applicators time and money while still providing the needed financial safe-guards. In this instance, MO-AG joined with the regulating agency, the Missouri Department of Agriculture, to support this legislation and to see it signed into law. Other bills in the General Assembly also contain this language, but, SB12 is the first to cross the finish line and obtain the Governor's signature.
 
As the 'agriculture omnibus' bill, SB12 contain several other provisions. It provides a technical fix concerning transfer of agricultural land while maintaining the limit of foreign ownership to one percent. The one percent threshold allows flexibility for the possibility for economic development in rural Missouri. SB12 also adds livestock to the current milk exemption for weight limitations on highways and allows weight limitations to be exceeded by as much as 10% on highways for hauling grain and grain co-products during harvest. It also allows beef producers to vote on a beef checkoff.  
 
SB12 was sponsored by Senator Brian Munzlinger. MO-AG also supported the Dairy Bill (HB259) which was also signed into law last week by Governor Nixon. HB259 was sponsored by Rep. Bill Reiboldt. MO-AG thanks Senator Munzlinger and Rep. Reiboldt for their leadership. More information about SB12 and HB259 is in the article below.

Governor Signs Ag Omnibus Bill (SB12)
Gov. Jay Nixon signed bills Friday aimed at boosting Missouri's dairy and $12.5 billion-a-year agriculture industries through insurance subsidies, scholarships, eased restrictions during parts of the year and other provisions meant to help crop and livestock farmers.  Republican Sen. Brian Munzlinger of Williamstown, who took the lead in Senate efforts to boost the farming industry, sponsored SB12.
 
The measure passed 101-48 in the House and had unanimous support in the Senate, despite concerns from Democrats who said allowing trucks to carry heavier loads could damage state roads at taxpayers' expense.  And while the legislation has support from the Missouri Farm Bureau, some rural farmers say it could lead to more foreign land ownership and additional taxes on beef producers.  At issue is a provision that will require the Department of Agriculture to review land sales if buyers do not have a W-9, a tax document completed upon employment. Currently, the director must approve all land transfers.  Munzlinger said the new method will give the department the ability to monitor foreign land acquisition.  Missouri Rural Crisis Center program director Rhonda Perry said it creates a loophole that would allow foreign businesses to bypass a current 1 percent cap on ownership of Missouri land by creating a domestic limited liability company to use to submit a W-9.  Perry, whose group promotes rural and family farms, also criticized a provision that would allow beef producers to vote on levying a state tax for a marketing program, which she said could allow a limited number of producers to vote on increasing the tax for all state producers. Munzlinger said the legislation leaves an increase up to producers.
Source:  Associated Press


 

Phil Karsting, USDA Foreign Agricultural Services Administrator (left) and Steve Taylor, President of Missouri Agribusiness Association, at a round table discussion on trade held at Bunge Headquarters in St. Louis, MO
 
MO-AG President Steve Taylor joined other leaders in agriculture to talk trade with USDA-FAS Administrator Phil Karsting.  Administrator Karsting began the discussion by focusing on two priorities for the Obama Administration - the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP).
 
These agreements are the most effective way to eliminate foreign tariffs, unscientific regulatory barriers, and bureaucratic administrative procedures designed to block trade.  Taylor stated "There are bright spots for U.S. agriculture exports such as U.S. cotton production where 75% of cotton production is exported.  There are other areas, however, where there are opportunities for improvement.  For example, only 10% of U.S. beef production is exported.  U.S. beef currently faces a 50% tariff in Japan.  Australia already negotiated an agreement with Japan to have their tariff reduced.  U.S. beef is at disadvantage without a similar agreement successfully negotiated through the TPP."  Taylor continued by saying "The best way to judge the value of future trade agreement is to look at the success of past trade agreements.  For example, the 2005 CAFTA-DR agreement has resulted in our exports more than doubling in value with wheat exports increasing from $260M in 2005 to $500M in 2014 and beef exports increasing from $12M in 2005 to $100M in 2014."
 
Besides the TPP, the T-TIP would address issues somewhat unique to the EU.  Taylor stated " I was glad to hear the Administrator's commitment to continue to push for the use of sound science to resolve non-tariff disputes.  In the EU, U.S. agriculture faces long delays while biotech products are reviewed and U.S. meat is blocked by bans on use of antimicrobial treatment."
 
Taylor reflected on all the focus recently on trade stating "Earlier this month, Sen. Claire McCaskill briefed those of us on the Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City regarding her trade mission to Cuba.  Last month, I was at a press conference where I joined Governor Nixon and MDA Fordyce and spoke in support of the Governor's trade mission to Cuba.  MO-AG is happy to join with policymakers and with other agriculture groups to support more exports of our agricultural products.  MO-AG members are ag retailers, grain merchandisers, feed mills, and many others who represent a broad cross-section of businesses that provide inputs, market output, and many things in-between.  MO-AG is an advocate for the business of agriculture and trade is good for agribusiness.  These trade agreements are good for agribusiness."
 
Courts Tell EPA to Tell
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its ruling regarding an appeal of the lawsuit filed by environmental activists seeking to compel EPA to enforce nutrient water quality standards called numeric nutrient criteria (NNC).  NNCs could ultimately require drastic changes in fertilizer applications.  MO-AG, along with other Missouri agricultural organizations and Missouri's Attorney General Chris Koster, participated in the original lawsuit by intervening on the side of EPA.  EPA and the interveners 'won' the main point of the lawsuit when the District Court determined that EPA was not compelled to set NNCs.  However, the original ruling of the District Court directed EPA to say 'why' NNCs were not necessary.  This is the part that EPA appealed and EPA lost.  So, now EPA has to tell 'why'.
 
BUT Will It Matter to Missouri
Most States in the nation do not have what EPA considers complete NNC.  Some states simply lack the science to set NNCs or feel the science does not support NNCs.  In Iowa, the state agencies determined it would not develop NNCs but rather would focus its energy on implementing its Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy.  Winning the NNC lawsuit and defeating the  environmental groups efforts to force NNCs onto states will be a huge help to these states.
 
But, it may end up not being that significant to Missouri.
 
At a meeting held at MoDNR offices on April 9th, MoDNR staff told MO-AG President Steve Taylor and other agricultural, industrial, and municipal interests that MoDNR plans to charge ahead with rulemaking this summer to set NNCs.  Taylor stated, "MoDNR's proposed NNC is not based on quantitative science but rather subjective 'lines of evidence' that describe and interpret risk estimates.  In fact, quantitative scientific data from UMC and others supports much higher limits.  If MoDNR goes ahead with the subjective NNCs it is considering now, much of Missouri will be declared 'impaired' from nutrient pollution.  The reality is that is not the case.  And, the real irony is these standards are supposed to protect fish but MoDNR may set the nutrient level so low that sport fish like largemouth bass, crappie, and bluegill may be less abundant and/or have less growth."
 
Stay Tuned !
 
Funds Sweeps
In an effort to patch a $1.6 billion shortfall in the state's budget, the Illinois legislature approved and Governor Rauner signed legislation to sweep many state funds, including but not limited to the IDA Pesticide Control Fund, the Fertilizer Control Fund, Weights & Measurers, Feed Control Fund and the Ag Premium (county fair) Fund, for a total of  $14.6 million from IDA programs.  While these fund sweeps will make operations difficult at IDA, IFCA recognizes that everyone is going to have to make sacrifices to get the state back on track.  The good news is that the two funds most important to our industry, the Pesticide and Fertilizer Control Funds, will replenish themselves as licenses and product registration fees renew. Source:  Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association
 
NRDC Sees Silver Lining
The Natural Resources Defense Council says a court ruling reversing a lower court judge's order for the EPA was not all bad news.   "The ruling reinforced our long-standing contention that the EPA's decisions must be scrutinized in the light of day. They have hidden from the stubborn problem of Mississippi River pollution for decades, and the federal decision reinforces our argument that they cannot expect to hide from the court as well," NRDC attorney Ann Alexander said in the statement.
 
"This gives us a chance to further clarify arguments about how the Clean Water Act requires EPA to give the public straight answers on whether federal action is needed to address the problem, since state efforts to address this problem have been too weak or nonexistent to get the job done," Alexander said. "Waterways across this nation are being mucked to the point of threatening drinking water supplies." Source:  The Times-Picayune
 
Food Babe Full Of  . . .
Food blogger Vani Hari, better known as Food Babe, is facing criticism this week after Gawker published an article that exposed several factual errors on her controversial blog.  In "The 'Food Babe' Blogger Is Full of Sh*t," writer Yvette d'Entremont (a former chemistry professor, toxicology chemist, and analytical chemist, and now blogger at Science Babe), calls Hari out for manipulating her followers into trusting her as a legitimate source of health information despite her lack of credentials; for instilling unnecessary, unjustified fear in her #FoodBabeArmy; and basically, as the title suggests, for being full of sh*t.
But Hari, confident in her Food Babe Army, addressed the Gawker story by writing a response sharing her alleged sadness over "the profane, one-sided, biased and unprofessional post that Gawker paid a former pesticide chemist to write."
Source:  BIO
 
Containers on River
Proving the viability of intermodal river transportation, Ingram Barge Company's towboat the M/V Miss Shirley arrived at America's Central Port in Granite City, Illinois, transporting containers up river via barge. This method of moving cargo has the potential to support new growth across many industries, including import and export businesses, and greatly benefit the nation's economy.
 
"The Maritime Administration predicts the U.S. will need to move an additional 14 billion tons of cargo by 2050 to accommodate population growth," said Mayor Francis Slay, City of St. Louis, MO.  Dan Mecklenborg, Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer, Ingram Barge Company stated "Currently our nation's highways and railways are operating near full capacity, while our inland waterways are vastly underutilized.  We know there is substantial room to grow in transporting goods on the rivers with minimal investment.  And the inland waterways network is the safest and most environmentally friendly mode of transporting cargo in the U.S."  Mecklenborg said with no retrofitting required, a single open-hulled barge can hold three columns of nine containers stacked three high or 81 containers.
 
 
When the Ingram towboat leaves America's Central Port, the towboat will return to Paducah where the Riverport Authority will unload the intermodal containers using the 200-ton Comansa tower crane, which is the largest in all of North America. Source:  MarEx

Heads to Governor's Desk
The Missouri Dairy Revitalization Act of 2015 (HB 259), sponsored by Representative Bill Reiboldt, goes to Governor Jay Nixon for final approval.  "We urge Governor Nixon to sign the legislation without delay," says Lloyd Gunter, Missouri Dairy Association (MDA) president and a dairy farmer from Conway.  HB259 establishes a dairy producer insurance premium assistance program for producers who participate in the federal margin protection program for dairy producers. Furthermore, HB259 establishes the Missouri Dairy Scholars Program. This program makes available 80 scholarships at $5,000 each toward tuition.   Additionally, under this act, the University of Missouri's Commercial Agriculture program conducts an annual study of the dairy industry.  "Concern for job stability and economic activity in Missouri were the driving forces for support of these dairy provisions," says Gunter.  "Missouri's dairy product manufacturing industry revenues translated into statewide total economic output worth $7.7 billion.  When you include the jobs, created at the farm level and with additional suppliers, a total of 23,297 jobs were supported providing $1.2 billion in labor income to Missourians in 2011.
 
Missouri's agriculture groups were united in their support of HB259 with many testifying at various hearings including the Missouri Dairy Products Association, Dairy Farmers of America, Missouri Farm Bureau, Missouri Cattlemen's Association, Missouri Corn Growers Association, Missouri Soybean Association, Missouri Agribusiness Association (MO-AG,) MFA Inc. along with students from the University of Missouri. 
Source:  Missouri Dairy Association
 
IARC On Glyphosate
"The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies the herbicide glyphosate as probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A).   In addition, there is convincing evidence that glyphosate also can cause cancer in laboratory animals. On the basis of tumours in mice, the US EPA originally classified glyphosate as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group C) in 1985. After a re-evaluation of that mouse study, the US EPA changed its classification to evidence of non-carcinogenicity in humans (Group E) in 1991. The IARC Working Group that conducted the evaluation considered the significant findings from the US EPA report and several more recent positive results in concluding that there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals."
Source:  The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization (WHO)
 
Editor's Note:  MO-AG is concerned by how IARC references EPA science but ignores the conclusions of that science after only a week-long meeting where IARC 'working group' reviewed Glyphosate for the first time.  Glyphosate is routinely under review by regulatory authorities in many countries.  As noted by the IARC, the EPA in the U.S. has reviewed Glyphosate several times over many years.  In January, the German government completed a four-year study of glyphosate for the European Union.  These studies all concluded "glyphosate was unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk in humans."
 
Fear-mongering "Expert" Opinions
Across America, confusion reigns in the supermarket aisles about how to eat healthfully. One thing on shopper's minds: the pesticides in produce. In fact, a recent Consumer Reports survey of 1,050 people found that pesticides are a concern for 85 percent of Americans. So, are these worries justified? And should we all be buying organics-which can cost an average of 49 percent more than standard fruits and vegetables?  Experts at Consumer Reports believe that organic is always the best choice because it is better for your health, the environment, and the people who grow our food.  "We're exposed to a cocktail of chemicals from our food on a daily basis," says Michael Crupain, M.D., M.P.H., director of Consumer Reports' Food Safety and Sustainability Center. "We just don't know enough about the health effects." Source:  Consumer Reports
 
Expert Facts
Statement from USDA:  "The Pesticide Data Program provides reliable data through rigorous sampling that helps assure consumers that the produce they feed their families is safe. Over 99 percent of the products sampled through PDP had residues below the EPA tolerances."
 
Statement from FDA:  "The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is responsible for assessing whether pesticide chemical residues found on food make the food unlawful under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. FDA is able to conduct its own tests, interpret the reported violations, and determine if additional testing is needed in order to take enforcement action, as appropriate."
 
Statement from EPA:  "The newest data from the PDP confirm that pesticide residues in food do not pose a safety concern for Americans.  EPA remains committed to a rigorous, science-based, and transparent regulatory program for pesticides that continues to protect people's health and the environment."
 
Statement from the American Cancer Society:  "Pesticides and herbicides can be toxic when used improperly in industrial, agricultural, or other occupational settings. Although vegetables and fruits sometimes contain low levels of these chemicals, overwhelming scientific evidence supports the overall health benefits and cancer-protective effects of eating vegetables and fruits. At present there is no evidence that residues of pesticides and herbicides at the low doses found in foods increase the risk of cancer, but fruits and vegetables should be washed thoroughly before eating."
 
Farm Income/Farm Bill
Farm bill costs are projected to be down another $5 billion beyond the anticipated $23 billion saved under the 2014 rewrite.  The farm bill is a tiny portion of the overall budget, comprising just 1.9%, with farm bill safety net provisions for producers and crop insurance standing at less than three-tenths of 1 percent. Miraculously, amidst a 43%  decline in farm income, the farm bill safety net provisions are still mustering savings compared to the repealed direct payment.  Had the direct payment continued, producers would have received help against a 43%  drop in farm income this past fall. But under the new farm bill, producers will wait until October 2015 for the first sign of help. Source:  The Hill
 
But Insurance Payments Up
The old system of direct payments to growers of corn, soybeans and a few other crops have been replaced by two heavily subsidized "insurance" programs that ostensibly protect only against price swings and natural disasters beyond the farmers' control. In fact, though, the programs insure against such relatively common risks that they are tantamount to direct payments, and nearly as lucrative - sometimes more so.  Overall, the "insurance" programs will pay out more than $24 billion between 2014 and 2018 which is $2.4 billion more than direct payments cost in the previous half-decade. The report also projects that the government's total crop insurance costs will hit nearly $85 billion between now and 2024, compared to the $67 billion paid out between 2005 and 2014.  Like so many of its predecessors, the 2014 farm bill promised cheaper, more efficient federal agricultural policy, but delivered the opposite. Source:  Washington Post
 
Size Doesn't Matter
What comes to mind when you think of a "family farm?" What about the phrase "corporate farm" or "big ag?" Do you see a giant, impersonal and industrial-looking operation?  Unfortunately, these common misperceptions are regularly promoted in everything from TV ads to online chats. But the reality is that "big" does not equate to "bad," and "small" doesn't necessarily mean "good" when it comes to sustainable farming. In fact, it's the wrong debate altogether.
 
Take Christine Hamilton, for example, whose family farm produces corn, soybeans, winter wheat and cattle across 14,000 acres in South Dakota. For years she's been participating in USDA conservation programs, using no-till practices, planting trees to limit erosion, and utilizing variable rate technologies to improve the environment and her yields.  Many small-farm operations implement sustainable practices as well. But, I've visited small farms where livestock roam freely into streams, soil erosion destroys riverbanks, and nutrient management plans are nonexistent.
 
What really matters is performance, not size.
Source: Suzy Friedman, Director of Agricultural Sustainability for Environmental Defense Fund and Field to Market Board Member

 
 

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