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Upcoming Events




April 24-26, 2017, 2017
FSPCA Preventive Controls for Animal Food Course;
St. Louis, MO

July 13-14, 2017
Jim Russell Foundation Summer Meeting;
Lake Ozark, MO

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Advocacy


FSPCA Preventive Controls for Animal Food Course
 
April 24-26
 
Marriott St. Louis West
660 Maryville Centre Drive,
St. Louis, MO 63141
 
This course is intended for individuals needing preventive controls qualified individual designation to create Food Safety Modernization Act Hazard Analysis Risk-Based Preventive Controls plans for their animal food facilities. A certificate of completion will be given by the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA) at the conclusion of the course. The regulation requires that certain activities must be completed by a preventive controls qualified individual. This course, developed by FSPCA, is the "standardized curriculum" recognized by FDA and successfully completing this course is one way to meet the requirements for a preventive controls qualified individual.
 
ARE YOU READY?
 
The FSMA Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) regulations became effective 9/19/2016 for companies with over 500 employees. Small businesses with less than 500
full-time equivalent employees are required to be compliant with CGMP regulations starting 9/19/2017.
 
GET READY HERE!
 
The course will be taught by Matt Frederking and Dave Fairfield, lead Instructors for the FSPCA Preventive Controls for Animal Food Course.   David Fairfield is the Senior Vice President of Feed Services for the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA). Matt Frederking is the Vice President of Regulatory Affairs for Ralco Nutrition Inc. Frederking is an International HACCP Alliance Lead Instructor.
 
A limited number of rooms are available at the event rate of $129 per night. Attendees are to make room reservations directly with the Marriott West by calling 1 (800) 228-9290 or on-line by CLICKING HERE. Be sure to reference "FSMA Training" to obtain the special rate. The cut-off date for this special room rate is April 3rd.
 
The registration fee is $125. This fee covers the course materials, FSPCA course certificate fee, lunch on the 24th and 25th, and other expenses.  The course is scheduled to begin at 9:30am on the 24th and adjourn by noon on the 26th.  More information on the agenda will be provided.  Registration is limited so register now to reserve your spot. To register for the event, complete the following information and mail, fax, or email to the Missouri Agribusiness Association (MO-AG).

For more information on the agenda and to register, CLICK HERE.
 
 
(left to right) Daren Coppock, President of the Agricultural Retailers Association; Senator Roy Blunt; Steve Taylor, President of the Missouri Agribusiness Association

MO-AG President Steve Taylor traveled to Washington DC last week where he joined ARA's Board of Directors and staff in recognizing Missouri's Senator Roy Blunt as ARA's Legislator of the Year.  Sen. Blunt is a consistent supporter of agribusiness and was particularly recognized last week for his efforts that stopped OSHA's overreaching regulations and his continuing efforts to do away with EPA's Waters of the United States (WOTUS).  In accepting the award, Blunt said "Missouri has more than 100,000 individual farms that depend on agricultural retailers to meet their needs, and the last thing Washington should do is get in the way. I am honored to receive this award, and will continue working to rein in excessive, burdensome red tape and bring more transparency and accountability to the regulatory process."  Earlier this past year, Blunt received MO-AG's 'Advocate for Agribusiness' award.

 
(left to right)  Jeff Blackwood, BASF; Keith Flick, MFA; Senator Claire McCaskill; Steve Taylor, MO-AG; Ed Thomas, The Fertilizer Institute (TFI)

While in DC, Taylor joined with member companies and affiliated members to pay a visit to other members of the Missouri Congressional delegation.  During a visit with Sen. Claire McCaskill, the group thanked Senator McCaskill for her on-going support to eliminate duplicative regulations on pesticide applicators.  Sen. McCaskill is sponsoring legislation (S340) to remove the requirement that applicators obtain 'discharge' permits for pesticide applications near 'waters of the US'.  During the visit, Sen. McCaskill was asked to consider supporting a review of EPA's RMP rule.  Under the Congressional Review Act, this last-minute EPA rule could be rolled back.  The RMP rule adds more burdensome regulations, requiring 3rd party audits.  It also requires public release of sensitive information that was even opposed by the Obama Department of Homeland Security.  
 
  

Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer has long led the fight to push back against overly aggressive federal regulators.  Right after the West, Texas tragedy, OSHA went after Missouri distributors of fertilizers seeking to retroactively enforce regulations and assess fines.  Luetkemeyer was key in pushing back on OSHA.  Several years ago, Congressman Luetkemeyer received MO-AG's 'advocate for agribusiness' award and Congressman Luetkemeyer continues to advocate for agribusiness today.   
 

With Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler serving on House Agriculture Committee, much of the group's discussion focused on the next farm bill.  Committee Chairman Michael Conaway has stated he would like to see a new farm bill passed by September 2018 or earlier.  Taylor expressed concerns about comments made by the Committee's ranking member Collin Peterson.  Congressman Peterson supports increasing CRP acres to address over supply of grain and to increase wildlife habitat (see article below).  MO-AG wants to limit CRP acres so to keep working lands working. 
 

Instead of unilaterally reducing grain supplies and conceding defeat to our international competitors, MO-AG believes a better approach would be for the United States to adopt an aggressive approach to trade and focus on increasing exports of grain.  Some in agriculture and in other sectors are somewhat nervous regarding President Trump's approach to trade (see article below).   Congressman Smith was very hopeful on the trade issue as he mentioned his most recent conversations with President Trump on increasing agricultural exports and reflected on his past efforts to increase trade.  The group also visited with Congressman Billy Long who just a couple days later met with President Trump in the Whitehouse where he highlighted his trip to Japan which would also focus on increased trade.

 
(left to right)  Preston Buff, AFIA Director of Regulatory Affairs; Richard Sellers, AFIA Senior Vice President Richard Sellers; Steve Taylor, MO-AG President; and John Marshall Stewart, AFIA Manager of Government Affairs

Before leaving DC, Taylor stopped by the offices of the American Feed Industry Association.  Among the issues discussed was the FDA's Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD).  Congressman Smith has legislation that would roll back the federal VFD rule.  At the state Capitol in Jefferson City, Representative Hurst has a resolution that urges the federal government to rescind VFD regulations that went into effect in January 2017. 

Meanwhile in Jefferson City
This past week marks the seventh week of session and it is officially constituent season.  Interest groups have booths in the rotunda and special guests are constantly being introduced on House and Senate floors which signals session is in full swing.  A lot of time is still being spent in committees.  Senate Committee Chairs turned in approximately 40 bills this past week to add to the Senate perfection calendar.  The House focused their efforts on penalties for crimes against law enforcement officers and labor bills.  HB175, which directs that regulation of seed and fertilizer is to be conducted by the Missouri Department of Agriculture and is supported by MO-AG, was reported 'do pass' by the House rules committee and now heads to the House floor.

To see MO-AG's legislation of interest, CLICK HERE

Governor Greitens filled vacancies on the University of Missouri Board of Curators.  Greitens announced his appointments of his former campaign finance chairman Jeffery Layman, St. Louis area attorney Darryl Chatman, and President of Farmer Holding Company Jamie Farmer to the board.  The Senate is likely to confirm the Governor's appointments.  In the news release Greitens said, "We can encourage more intellectual diversity and become the best state in the country at preparing students for rewarding careers. These curators bring knowledge and real world experience to the table. They will be important voices for our students and families."

Peterson Seeks CRP Increase in Farm Bill
Congressman and House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson has said committee members do have some "pet issues" they would like to see addressed in the next farm bill, and that his are increasing the acreage in the CRP.  The CRP, which makes payments to landowners and farmers for idling land to improve the environment and wildlife habitat, is limited to 24 million acres. But Peterson said that, with commodity prices low, he would like to raise the limit to 40 million acres.  CRP allowed 45 million acres when it started 30 years ago, Peterson noted. He said he wants to increase the limit in order to lower production to raise commodity prices, which he said was one of the purposes of the original program.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard join Gov. Mark Dayton and U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson at the National Pheasant Summit in the Minneapolis Convention Center to discuss the process for drafting a new Farm Bill and initiatives for creating wildlife habitat.  The National Pheasant Summit is part of the National Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic organized by Pheasants Forever. The group says Dayton and Daugaard are among the most visible public officials expressing concern over decreasing wildlife habitat in the upper Midwest.  Peterson has called for a big increase in acres protected under the Conservation Reserve Program, which Pheasants Forever supports as a way to restore habitat. Source:  DTN & Capital Journal

Ag is Nervous on Trade
The Trump administration needs to announce something soon to show America's farmers that work is being done to boost U.S. exports, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts said after a closed-door meeting between Trump's trade advisers and members of the Senate Finance Committee.  In the meeting, Peter Navarro, head of the new White House National Trade Council, laid out four major trade priorities, with agriculture No. 3 on the list.  But Roberts said it was a dissertation-type presentation that didn't go far enough. "What we are trying to demonstrate to the administration is we need action now," he emphasized.  Roberts is pushing in particular for the administration to announce that it's going to negotiate a bilateral agreement with a country such as Japan. The top Democrat on the Finance Committee, Ron Wyden, said the Trump advisers "offered few details about the administration's objectives" and no strategy on how to achieve them.  Wyden said in a statement that, in some cases, the advisers' comments even conflicted at times with recent statements that Trump has made. Wyden didn't identify the discrepancies.
Source:  Agripulse

The Dicamba Bill Advances
The House Agriculture Policy committee has approved a House committee substitute for HB662.  A copy of the committee substitute can be found HERE.  New language in the committee's substitute states that the Mo Department of Agriculture may assess a civil penalty when "any individual has knowingly applied a herbicide to a crop for which the herbicide was not labeled for use".  During testimony on the bill, MO-AG had specifically asked that the word 'knowingly' be included.  This language now legally differentiates this situation from accidental crop damage that can occasionally occur.  The substitute also states penalties can be assessed 'up to' $1,000/acre ($2,000/acre for 'chronic violators') whereas the original bill did not say 'up to' but only $1,000/acre ($2,000/acre).  The substitute also removes the requirement that manufacturers of volatile compounds provide training on use. 

Once again, MO-AG expresses its appreciation to the bill sponsor, Rep. Don Rone, for his willingness to work on the language of the bill.  MO-AG will continue to work with Rep. Rone, MDA, and others as the legislation makes its way through the legislative process.

To see all 'legislation of interest', CLICK HERE

Fertilizer/Seed Bill Has Hearing
HB175 was heard by the House Agriculture Policy Committee last week.  MO-AG testified in support of the bill which provides for consistent regulation through the Mo Department of Agriculture.  HB175 simply states that no political subdivision (i.e. county, city) shall regulate the labeling or use of seed or fertilizers.  MO-AG President Steve Taylor testified that the language in HB175 is consistent with model language from the Association of American Plant Food Control Officials (AAPFCO) and that over 20 states already have enacted laws with similar language. To see all 'legislation of interest', CLICK HERE

Organics Push GMO Ban
Some farmers are renewing an ¬effort to get Oregon lawmakers to allow local governments to regulate, and potentially ban, ¬genetically modified crops.  Organic, small-scale and other farmers in Oregon want more restrictions because they fear genetically engineered plants could get into their crops through cross-pollination. That kind of mingling can cause crops' value to plummet because some consumers don't want to purchase genetically altered products because of perceived health risks.  But the proposed policy, which got nowhere in 2016, once again is opposed by the powerful Oregon Farm Bureau Federation as well as pesticide manufacturers.  Barry Bushue, the president of the Farm Bureau Federation, said local laws banning GMO crops essentially "pick winners and losers" among different types of farmers. He added that instances of crop contamination have been fairly rare in Oregon.  "Co-existence does happen and can happen," he said. "That's why working with your neighbor is so important, rather than going to the public and asking them to regulate" crops.

House Bill 2369 explicitly would allow counties to pass rules "for the purpose of protecting" non-GMO crops "from adverse impacts of products or seeds that are genetically engineered."  That could mean lower impact rules, such as requiring GMO crops be tracked and mapped, or requiring "buffer zones" between different crops. Counties also could be more aggressive and pass outright bans.
Source:  The Oregon Register-Guard

Columbia MO Welcomes Organic Dairy
The Columbia City Council unanimously agreed to sell a little more than 101 acres of city-owned land to Platteville, Colo.-based Aurora Organic Dairy for $2.1 million. City Manager Mike Matthes presented the transaction to city council members with his "wholehearted recommendation."  Matthes said. "This is a great business deal for the community." He said the land transaction and proposed plant were "a home run" for the city's strategic plan, which has identified social equity as a priority.  The company has agreed to hire a workforce that reflects Columbia's demographics, meaning at least 10 percent black and 50/50 male and female.  Aurora Organic Dairy President Scott McGinity said the land sale approval was "a positive step in the right direction" toward the company finalizing its decision to build its second plant in Columbia.  Marc Peperzak, CEO and founder of Aurora Organic Dairy, said the company was not planning to build a dairy in Columbia "at this point."   Source:  Columbia Daily Tribune

Missouri's New Governor and General Assembly Begin Work
Governor Eric Greitens delivered his first State of the State address last week.  Greitens urged lawmakers to put ethics reform among their top priorities along with unnecessary regulations, right-to-work, and reworking the welfare system.  Also last week, Governor Greitens announced the first of his budget withholdings.  With cuts totaling over $146 million, the Department of Higher Education seemed to take the biggest hit with $70 million withheld from the department.  Governor Greitens also signed a number of executive orders including one which halted all new rules and regulations for Missouri businesses.

As far as the legislature, several high priority bills have been making their way through committees including 'right to work', ethics, and tort reform. The House budget committee is discussing budget cuts of almost $500 million.  For MO-AG members, some of the 'legislation of interest' can be found HERE.  MO-AG members should take note of SB77, sponsored by Senate Agriculture Chairman Brian Munzlinger, and HB175, sponsored by Rep. Bill Reiboldt.  These bills would prohibit political subdivisions from regulating seed and fertilizer.  MO-AG supports this legislation as we feel that agriculture needs consistent regulations based on sound scientific principles.  Statewide regulation and enforcement by the Missouri Department of Agriculture provides constancy in the application of fertilizer and seed regulations.  For livestock production, HB 71, sponsored by Representative Joe Don McGaugh, clarifies that an applicant in good standing with the state of Missouri satisfies the continuing authority requirements of Missouri's Clean Water Law.  Last year, ag operations were denied permits because of this issue. 

Other legislation of note is that filed by Rep. Don Rone related to the misuse of the pesticide, dicamba.  Rep Rone has filed three bills:  HB605, HB606, and HB662.  MO-AG staff has met with Rep. Rone as well as other legislators and ag groups regarding this issue and this proposed legislation.  We are hopeful that by end of the session the legislative process will have produced legislation that will address the serious problems faced last growing season without overly restricting agriculture's access to modern technology.  We will be especially on-guard to the problem of unintentional consequences that could occur by changing state law related to penalties for unintentional, minor violations of label restrictions. 

Dicamba Legislation in Missouri
Crop damage from the last growing season is done, but Missouri and Arkansas lawmakers are taking steps that aim to prevent future devastation from dicamba, the herbicide widely blamed for a rash of illegal spraying that sowed financial pain and discord in farming communities across the region.  Interestingly, the variety approved for use throughout the growing season in Arkansas is Engenia, from chemical company BASF, and not Xtendimax, the new herbicide from Creve Coeur-based Monsanto.  In Missouri, meanwhile, state Rep. Don Rone, R-Portageville, has introduced three bills aiming to avoid a repeat of the scenario that unfolded on farms across his Bootheel district last summer.  Farmers have criticized existing fines for being woefully insufficient to deter wrongdoers. Rone said he did not want to pursue restrictions like those implemented in Arkansas, arguing that growers need access to new herbicides.  "We tried our best not to stifle industry," Rone said. "If we can keep the bad players from being bad players, we can use this compound. But we need things in place to show them we mean business." Source:  St. Louis Post Dispatch
 
Fertilizer Tonnage Fee Reduced to $0.30
The new Missouri Fertilizer Control Board met for the very first time on January 25th.  The Board was created last year by legislation supported by MO-AG.  The law gives this new Board authority over Missouri's fertilizer program.  Most members of the Board are fertilizer dealers and farmers.  By law, MO-AG is allowed to nominate the fertilizer dealer board members.  At this first meeting, the Board elected Ronnie Russell to serve as Chairman and Kevin Holcer to serve as Vice-Chairman.  Mr. Russell is a farmer from the Richmond, MO area, serves on the Missouri Soybean Association Board and is also a fertilizer dealer.  Mr. Holcer manages the fertilizer program at AGRISerivces of Brunswick and serves as 1st Vice- Chairman on the MO-AG Board of Directors.  Staff from the Missouri Attorney General's office attended the Board meeting and gave an overview of the changes in the fertilizer law which resulted in the creation of the Board.  That presentation can be seen HERE.

Fertilizer dealers need to be aware that the changes in the law last year also resulted in the tonnage fee on fertilizer being reduced from $0.50 per ton to $0.30 per ton.  MO-AG is aware that there may be some confusion on this point and the last tonnage reports forms sent out from the fertilizer program.  We would advise fertilizer dealers to review the latest tonnage reporting forms very carefully.  The Board did discuss the tonnage fee as it reviewed the overall fertilizer program.  The Board is conducting a comprehensive review of the financial status of the program and the priorities of the program.  MO-AG expects that the Board will conduct rulemaking in the near future related to the tonnage fee.  So, stay tuned.

Finally, we congratulate the new Board on a very productive first meeting.  MO-AG fought hard for this law which created this Board.  The law says the Board is to "exercise general supervision" of the fertilizer program and to "represent the best interests of the Missouri farmers and the Missouri Agribusiness."  The Board takes this responsibility seriously.  The fertilizer program is in good hands and we look forward to working with this Board in the future.  

Modern Agriculture Wins in Iowa
As many will recall, the Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) sued Iowa drainage districts over agricultural nutrients in Des Moines source water.   The case has cost ratepayers in Iowa nearly $1 million dollars for attorney fees.  The case also threatened to set a very bad and dangerous precedent that could spread to Missouri and most of the country.  It seems, however, that agriculture won a reprieve from the court.  The Iowa Supreme Court ruled last week that the districts are immune from damage claims.  Reacting to the Court's decision, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey stated that DMWW's failed strategy sought to circumvent well-established Iowa law and that the lawsuit has been a needless distraction from the collaborative, research-based approach that is working to improve water quality.  It should be noted that this issue is not totally decided.  The Iowa Supreme Court opinion does not resolve the federal Clean Water Act issues still before the federal district court.  Should the federal court rule in favor of DMWW, drainage districts could be subject to permitting under the CWA.  This federal issue is set to be decided in federal court in June.

EPA Set to Publish New Updated RMP Rules
On  December  21st,  EPA released a  pre-publication  copy  of  the  Risk  Management  Program  (RMP)  final  rule.  EPA's release stems from their initial July 2014 Request For Information (RFI) back in the wake of the West, Texas tragedy.   The rule  will be effective  60  days  following publication in the Federal Register.

Modern Agriculture Wins in Iowa
As many will recall, the Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) sued Iowa drainage districts over agricultural nutrients in Des Moines source water.   The case has cost ratepayers in Iowa nearly $1 million dollars for attorney fees.  The case also threatened to set a very bad and dangerous precedent that could spread to Missouri and most of the country.  It seems, however, that agriculture won a reprieve from the court.  The Iowa Supreme Court ruled last week that the districts are immune from damage claims.  Reacting to the Court's decision, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey stated that DMWW's failed strategy sought to circumvent well-established Iowa law and that the lawsuit has been a needless distraction from the collaborative, research-based approach that is working to improve water quality.  It should be noted that this issue is not totally decided.  The Iowa Supreme Court opinion does not resolve the federal Clean Water Act issues still before the federal district court.  Should the federal court rule in favor of DMWW, drainage districts could be subject to permitting under the CWA.  This federal issue is set to be decided in federal court in June.

EPA Set to Publish New Updated RMP Rules
On  December  21st,  EPA released a  pre-publication  copy  of  the  Risk  Management  Program  (RMP)  final  rule.  EPA's release stems from their initial July 2014 Request For Information (RFI) back in the wake of the West, Texas tragedy.   The rule  will be effective  60  days  following publication in the Federal Register.
 
EPA did not say for sure when the final rule would be published.  Industry experts believe there is a chance that it may not be published before January 20, 2017 due to the incoming Trump administration.

The highlights of the new requirements that may affect retailers are as follows:
Accident Prevention:
•    A Root Cause Analysis will be required following a catastrophic release.
•    For  facilities  that  have  accidental  releases,  an  independent  third-party  audit must be  conducted following  a  RMP  accident.    While EPA  dropped  the  requirement  for  the  auditor  to  be  a Professional Engineer (PE), a team of individuals may be used provided one person is an independent, third partynot affiliated with the facility. Audits must be available for inspection onsite.
Emergency Response: 
•    Retailers will have to coordinate annually with their Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) to discuss chemical risks, chemical stored on-site and chemical processes.
•    Facilities that  have onsite resources to respond to releases of ammonia must conduct field exercises with LEPCs every 10 years; tabletop exercises every three years.
Enhanced Availability of Information:
•    Public meetings will be required within 90 days of an RMP accident. Covered Chemicals:
Ammonium Nitrate was not added to RMP chemical list as broadly anticipated.

Compliance Dates:
•    1 year from the effective date for Emergency Response requirements
•    4years  from  the  effective  date  for  Accident  Prevention  and  Enhanced  Availability  of  Information Requirements.
•    5 years from the effective date for facilities to update existing RMPs.

If this  final  rule is  published  before  January  20th,  there  will  be  the question  as  to  whether  the  Trump administration will withdraw the rule. This rule  has  already been nominated by The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) and  other  groups  as  a  candidate  for the  incoming  Congress to consider  to rescind  the  rule  using  a Congressional Review Act petition. Click here to review the rule.

EPA Releases Final Applicator Certification and Training Rule 
EPA has released their final revised regulation on certification and training requirements for pesticide certified applicators. This  is  the last  of  two  recent  rule  updates aimed  at  revising  the  existing  rule  for  workers  and pesticide  applicators. The  first  being  last  year's  revised  Worker  Protection  Standard  (WPS).  Unlike  the  still controversial and much maligned new WPS, in finalizing the certification and training requirements rule, EPA made  many  of  the  adjustments  that  pesticide  stakeholders  recommended  during  public  comment  and ultimately  released  a  much  improved  final  regulation. The  states  will  now  begin  to  work  with  EPA  to  craft training  materials  and  programs  aimed  at  implementing  the  rule  according  to  the  phased-in  enforcement timelines. Click here to review the final rule.

Missouri's New Governor and General Assembly Begin Work
Governor Eric Greitens delivered his first State of the State address last week.  Greitens urged lawmakers to put ethics reform among their top priorities along with unnecessary regulations, right-to-work, and reworking the welfare system.  Also last week, Governor Greitens announced the first of his budget withholdings.  With cuts totaling over $146 million, the Department of Higher Education seemed to take the biggest hit with $70 million withheld from the department.  Governor Greitens also signed a number of executive orders including one which halted all new rules and regulations for Missouri businesses.

As far as the legislature, several high priority bills have been making their way through committees including 'right to work', ethics, and tort reform. The House budget committee is discussing budget cuts of almost $500 million.  For MO-AG members, some of the 'legislation of interest' can be found HERE.  MO-AG members should take note of SB77, sponsored by Senate Agriculture Chairman Brian Munzlinger, and HB175, sponsored by Rep. Bill Reiboldt.  These bills would prohibit political subdivisions from regulating seed and fertilizer.  MO-AG supports this legislation as we feel that agriculture needs consistent regulations based on sound scientific principles.  Statewide regulation and enforcement by the Missouri Department of Agriculture provides constancy in the application of fertilizer and seed regulations.  For livestock production, HB 71, sponsored by Representative Joe Don McGaugh, clarifies that an applicant in good standing with the state of Missouri satisfies the continuing authority requirements of Missouri's Clean Water Law.  Last year, ag operations were denied permits because of this issue. 

Other legislation of note is that filed by Rep. Don Rone related to the misuse of the pesticide, dicamba.  Rep Rone has filed three bills:  HB605, HB606, and HB662.  MO-AG staff has met with Rep. Rone as well as other legislators and ag groups regarding this issue and this proposed legislation.  We are hopeful that by end of the session the legislative process will have produced legislation that will address the serious problems faced last growing season without overly restricting agriculture's access to modern technology.  We will be especially on-guard to the problem of unintentional consequences that could occur by changing state law related to penalties for unintentional, minor violations of label restrictions. 

Dicamba Legislation in Missouri
Crop damage from the last growing season is done, but Missouri and Arkansas lawmakers are taking steps that aim to prevent future devastation from dicamba, the herbicide widely blamed for a rash of illegal spraying that sowed financial pain and discord in farming communities across the region.  Interestingly, the variety approved for use throughout the growing season in Arkansas is Engenia, from chemical company BASF, and not Xtendimax, the new herbicide from Creve Coeur-based Monsanto.  In Missouri, meanwhile, state Rep. Don Rone, R-Portageville, has introduced three bills aiming to avoid a repeat of the scenario that unfolded on farms across his Bootheel district last summer.  Farmers have criticized existing fines for being woefully insufficient to deter wrongdoers. Rone said he did not want to pursue restrictions like those implemented in Arkansas, arguing that growers need access to new herbicides.  "We tried our best not to stifle industry," Rone said. "If we can keep the bad players from being bad players, we can use this compound. But we need things in place to show them we mean business." Source:  St. Louis Post Dispatch

Arkansas Says No to Dicamba
After pesticide drift, Arkansas lawmakers have advanced dicamba restrictions.  A legislative panel signed off on new restrictions by the state Plant Board for dicamba-based herbicides that can be used on crops this year.  The new Plant Board rules, which also were reviewed and approved by Gov. Asa Hutchinson earlier this month, will largely keep a new Monsanto herbicide in the farm shed this summer as farmers attend to their soybeans, cotton, fruit and vegetables.  In doing so, the board's recommendations will keep off the market a technology that Monsanto has said is badly needed by farmers.
Source:  Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

NGFA Applauds Perdue
The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) commended President Trump on his "outstanding" choice of former two-term Georgia Gov. George E. (Sonny) Perdue III to serve as the 31st secretary of agriculture.  As the owner of three agribusiness and transportation firms serving farmers across the Southeast, Perdue had served as a member of the NGFA's Board of Directors from 2014 until his nomination.  He previously served on the NGFA's Country Elevator Committee in the late 1980s before successfully winning election to the Georgia state Senate in 1991, where he served until 2001. 

"Gov. Perdue is an accomplished, innovative, problem-solving and proven public servant, and is an excellent choice to serve as secretary of agriculture," said NGFA President Randy Gordon.  Gordon also stressed Perdue's belief in and commitment to agricultural trade, and its importance to U.S. economic growth, job creation and the vitality of rural communities.  During his two terms as Georgia governor, Perdue promoted the state and its products to 25 countries, while making significant investments in the state's port infrastructure, leading to record levels of exports of Georgia products.  As leader of his agribusiness enterprises, Perdue also has traded agricultural commodities in domestic and export markets.  The NGFA also noted that Perdue is a fierce advocate of regulatory reform and brought those talents to the Georgia statehouse while serving as governor.  "There's no question he will bring that same zeal to roll back regulatory excesses within the federal government that have undermined the competitiveness and efficiency of America's farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses," Gordon said. Source:  NGFA press release

Illinois Comes To Missouri
MO-AG's sister state organization, the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois (GFAI), is coming to St. Louis Feb 19-21st for its 124th Annual Convention and Trade Show.  GFAI is offering member rates to MO-AG members who would wish to attend.  The trade show is sold out, Dueling Pianos entertainment is booked, and breakout sessions include a look at barge freight in St. Louis, the Food and Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), and many others.  For more information, click HERE or call GFAI at 217-787-2417.

Less Hogs
MDC has tallied up numbers for 2016. The year yielded a total of 5,358 feral hogs removed by MDC, partner agencies, and private landowners, which is a significant increase over efforts the previous year. In 2015, 3,649 feral hogs were removed.  In 2016, MDC partnered with other conservation groups and agriculture organizations to provide the state's feral hog strike team with more trapping equipment for use on both private and public land, and to fund public education efforts on the dangers of feral hogs.  MDC increased communication efforts, bolstering an already active feral hog communications campaign with statewide media efforts on agricultural news stations. Through this campaign, the public heard from private landowners who suffered hog damage and are working with MDC and USDA to eradicate feral hogs. They also helped spread the message to "Report, don't shoot" feral hogs.  Feral hogs damage property, agriculture, and natural resources by their aggressive rooting of soil in addition to their trampling and consumption of crops as part of their daily search for food.

MO-AG supports MDC's efforts to remove feral hogs.  For more information, click HERE


Court Sides with Ag Retailers on PSM
The D.C. Court of Appeals today ruled the Occupational Safety and Health Administration violated the Occupational Safety and Health Act when it issued an enforcement memorandum on July 22, 2015, redefining the "retail facility" exemption to the Process Safety Management Standard.
 
The Agricultural Retailers Association and The Fertilizer Institute, which brought the suit to court, are pleased with the decision. "OSHA made a bad decision in regulating ammonia in response to an ammonium nitrate incident, and the agency made that decision incorrectly," said ARA President & CEO Daren Coppock. "Although ARA could only challenge on the procedural point and not the decision itself, we're still very pleased to see the Court rule in our favor and to provide this relief to our members."
 
Ag retailers are exempt from PSM until OSHA completes a notice-and-comment rulemaking process regarding PSM, which could take several years to finalize. ARA is currently reviewing the court's decision and will provide additional analysis once our assessment is complete. For now, retailers can celebrate a victory on the legal front.  "It's a big win. Given the significant economic costs and absence of any safety benefit, the court made the correct decision," said ARA Chairman Harold Cooper. "The retail exemption has been in place for more than 20 years and OSHA should not have redefined it without an opportunity for stakeholders to comment."
 
Cooper said this could have easily gone another way. "As an industry, ag retailers tend to be complacent about regulations that come our way. We keep our heads down and do what's required," he said. "But this rule would have limited farmers and retailers options through an agency's improper regulatory overreach. Thankfully, ARA was uniquely prepared and positioned to defend our industry. They gave us a vehicle to fight and win this battle." Source: Agricultural Retailers Association 
 
MO-AG Priority Legislation Signed by Governor
Governor Jay Nixon has signed the fertilizer control board bill (SB655) into law.  I want to sincerely thank Sen. Brian Munzlinger for sponsoring the bill and Rep. Bill Reiboldt for handling the bill in the House.  There are many others to thank as well.  While MO-AG was intimately involved in the development of the legislation and was an early supporter, passage of the legislation was truly a group effort.  The support of the major commodity groups and farm organizations was absolutely crucial.  Also crucial were those MO-AG members who travelled to Jefferson City to testify for the bill and to visit one-on-one with legislators.
 
And now, the work really begins.  SB655 authorizes a new board which will be responsible for directing Missouri's fertilizer program and determining how resources will be utilized.  A Board made of up fertilizer dealers and their farmer customers who together pay the fertilizer tonnage fee will be deciding how best to utilize those funds.  I expect the new board will take a broad look at the present program and discuss potential changes for the future.  The Board will need to prioritize the regulatory program along with other priorities.   
 
In addition to signing SB655 last week, Governor Nixon also signed SB665, SB657, and SB664.  SB657 promotes the installation of blended fuel pumps while SB664 waives the requirement that farm corporations report to the Secretary of State when no changes in the reported information has occurred.  SB665 re-authorizes the beef tax credit until 2021 and increases the credit up to $15,000.  It also includes a tax credit for meat processing facilities and expands the eligibility of the Farm-to-Table (formerly Farm to School) Program.  SB664 and SB665 were sponsored by Sen. Mike Parson and SB657 was sponsored by Sen. Brian Munzlinger.  MO-AG thanks Governor Nixon for his support and for signing all these bills into law.
 
GMO Labeling Agreement?
Senators have a bipartisan deal to require labeling of genetically modified ingredients nationally.  The deal would require labeling of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, in packaged foods nationwide. But it would be more lenient than Vermont's law, allowing food companies to use a text label, a symbol or electronic label accessed by smartphone. Vermont's law would require items to be labeled "produced with genetic engineering."
 
Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Republican Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas have worked to find a compromise, saying a national solution is needed in the face of several separate state laws.  The Grocery Manufacturers Association said it is backing the senators' deal.  The group has opposed mandatory labeling nationwide, but advocated for electronic labels in negotiations.  "This bipartisan agreement ensures consumers across the nation can get clear, consistent information about their food and beverage ingredients and prevents a patchwork of confusing and costly state labeling laws," said Pamela Bailey, president of that group.
 
"The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) welcomes the Senate's carefully crafted, bipartisan legislative agreement to finally move our country forward on the GMO disclosure issue," said Jim Greenwood, BIO's President and CEO.  "We commend Senate Agriculture Committee leadership for making the issue a priority in this Congressional session."   BIO urges immediate action towards moving the bill forward.  "It is essential that the Congress - both the Senate and the House - act immediately to pass the Roberts-Stabenow agreement and send it to the President for his signature. Vermont's mandatory GMO food labeling law goes into effect on July 1, and it is already generating chaos in the marketplace." Source:  BIO
 
FAA: UAS (Drones) Cleared For Takeoff
FAA has finalized the first operational rules for routine commercial use of small unmanned aircraft systems. According to industry estimates, the rule could generate more than $82 billion for the U.S. economy and create more than 100,000 new jobs over the next 10 years.  The new rule takes effect in late August.  The regulations require pilots to keep an unmanned aircraft within visual line of sight.  Under the final rule, the person actually flying a drone must be at least 16 years old and have a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating, or be directly supervised by someone with such a certificate. To qualify for a remote pilot certificate, an individual must either pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center or have an existing non-student Part 61 pilot certificate. If qualifying under the latter provision, a pilot must have completed a flight review in the previous 24 months and must take a UAS online training course provided by the FAA.  The FAA strongly encourages all UAS pilots to check local and state laws before gathering information through remote sensing technology or photography. Source:  PrecisionAg
 
OSHA Continues Targeting of Anhydrous Ammonia - Review & Update
Last year, Senator Roy Blunt led the effort to put language in OSHA's appropriations bill directing OSHA not to enforce the Process Safety Management (PSM) on ag retailers.  Nevertheless, OSHA moved forward with its PSM efforts citing the West Texas tragedy.  In a hearing this past March, Sen. Blunt told Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez that OSHA was ignoring Congressional intent and that anhydrous ammonia has not involved in the West Texas tragedy.   On March 23rd, MO-AG, along with its state counterparts and national affiliates, sent a letter (CLICK HERE) to House and Senate appropriations leaders restating the fact that PSM was meant for chemical manufacturers and not ag retailers.  The letter stated that PSM would place significant time and cost burdens on ag facilities and asked the appropriators to once again include language in the FY17 appropriations bill to stop OSHA.  On May 26th, 52 bi-partisan members of the U.S House, including Missouri Representatives Hartzler, Luetkemeyer, and Graves, sent a letter to OSHA (CLICK HERE).  In the letter, the members stated that "the continued attempts by OSHA to tie anhydrous ammonia to the West incident are in contradiction to the facts."  The letter went on to state that a vast number of facilities "will likely require significant human and capital investments."  And as all this takes place in Congress, TFI and ARA continue their legal actions in the DC circuit of the US Court of Appeals.
 
With the pressure mounting, OSHA has relented to initiating a small business advocacy review panel which is a 'first step' towards rulemaking.  OSHA estimates the rulemaking process to take more than 5 years to complete.  In the meantime, OSHA does not plan to stop enforcing PSM.  Therefore, on June 9th, the Senate Appropriations Committee, chaired by Sen. Roy Blunt, approved a FY17 appropriations bill and the committee report included language stating OSHA is to submit PSM to rulemaking, conduct a cost analysis, and establish a NAICS code for farm supply retailers.  Also in the House, HR 5213, the Fertilizer Access and Responsible Management (FARM) Act has been introduced which would also prevent OSHA from enforcing PSM on ag retail facilities.
 
So, bottom-line, much work is being done to keep OSHA from enforcing PSM in the near term.  In the longer term, whether ag facilities handling anhydrous ammonia will have to submit to PSM is anyone's guess.  If you plan to be in the anhydrous ammonia business long term, you may wish to learn more about PSM and how to be in compliance, just in case.  MO-AG members are encouraged to check out the ResponsibleAg website HERE for more information.
 
Asmark Institute Sponsors 25 ResponsibleAg Auditor Training Scholarships
The Asmark Institute announced plans to provide 25 scholarships through their affiliated State fertilizer and agrichemical associations to help encourage qualified individuals to become credentialed auditors under the ResponsibleAg Certification Program.  At the heart of the ResponsibleAg initiative is the goal of providing accurate and credible audits consistently across the entire group of carefully trained ResponsibleAg credentialed auditors.  There have been 84 auditors complete the training and pass the credentialing process so far.  While the numbers of "internal" auditors, those trained to perform audits for their own company, has grown rapidly, there is a need for qualified "contract" auditors, those who will provide the service of performing audits for small and medium-size independent or cooperative businesses.
 
Each scholarship will offset the $2,150 registration for training and includes the credentialing application process.  The scholarship program is designed to help offset some of the start-up costs for new auditors and help relieve some of the risk associated with launching a new national initiative of this magnitude.  Recipients of the scholarships are expected to follow through and provide the service of performing audits.
 
"There are no better references than the State agribusiness association to help locate, select and foster the local highly-qualified individuals needed for this program," said Allen Summers, President of the Asmark Institute, "so it was an easy decision on our part to support our partners in each State and look to them for help with launching this vital program."
 
Individuals interested in learning more about this scholarship program should contact their participating State agribusiness association.  To learn more about ResponsibleAg, contact the Helpdesk at 270-683-6777 or visit the website at http://www.responsibleag.org.%20
Source: Asmark Institute
 
MDA: Administrative Rule Changes
Below is a list of new or updated rules for Missouri grain facilities and commercial applicators that are published in the May 31, 2016 issue of the Code of State Regulations. The changes include a new range of capacity has been added for low capacity businesses (2 CSR 60-4.030), allow licensed grain warehouses to electronic warehouse receipts (2 CSR 60-4.050), remove requirement for licensed public grain warehouses to file a tariff each year when license is renewed only with original application (2 CSR 60-4.120), remove grain warehouse requirement of an irrevocable letter of credit be provided in lieu of a bond be issued by a bank chartered under the laws of Missouri and requirement that it would be only negotiable at financial institutions located within Missouri (2 CSR 60-4.150) and (2 CSR 60-5.080) and changes in acceptable insurance and bond forms for commercial applicators (2 CSR 70-25.065). You can find these rulemakings at http://www.sos.mo.gov/adrules/csr/csr.asp.
 
2 CSR 60-4.030 Warehouse License-Fees
2 CSR 60-4.050 Warehouse Receipts
2 CSR 60-4.120 Tariffs
2 CSR 60-4.150 Letters of Credit
2 CSR 60-5.080 Letters of Credit
2 CSR 70-25.065 Acceptable Insurance and Bond Forms for Commercial Applicators
 
Source: Missouri Secretary of State
 
Triazine Network Tell EPA to Abide by the Law and Science
An EPA draft report on the herbicide atrazine is cause for alarm says the Triazine Network, a national coalition of farm organizations representing well over 30 agricultural crops in over 40 states. The group insists if the EPA continues to use the same false logic or endpoints as noted in the preliminary risk assessment, it could lead to a de facto ban on atrazine.  "EPA's flawed atrazine report is stomping science into the dirt and setting farmers up for significant economic hardship. We challenge this latest proposal and insist EPA abide by federal law that requires the agency to make determinations based on credible scientific evidence," said Triazine Network Chairman Gary Marshall. Marshall is executive director of the Missouri Corn Growers Association.
 
EPA is recommending aquatic life level of concern (LOC) be set at 3.4 parts per billion (ppb) on a 60-day average.  "At the proposed level, atrazine would be rendered useless in controlling weeds in a large portion of the Corn Belt, effectively eliminating the product," notes Marshall.  The Triazine Network and other farm groups have met with top EPA officials twice in the past few months asking them to follow a robust, science-based regulatory process established by Congress for regulating pesticides.  "We did not receive a positive response from the agency. EPA appears to be strongly committed to using flawed studies previously thrown out by their own science panels," Marshall said. "EPA risks its very foundation of being a science-based federal agency that makes decisions without bias."  EPA reregistered atrazine in 2006 and began its regularly scheduled registration re-review June 2013. The process typically takes six years to complete. Once the draft report is published in the Federal Register, EPA will begin collecting comments for 60 days.  For more information, click HERE.
Source:  Triazine Network
 
 
ATF Reports West Fertilizer Was a Criminal Act
More than three years after the West, Texas tragedy,the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Texas State Fire Marshal's Office called a press conference and announced the origin and cause of  the  plant  fire  and  explosion  at  West  Fertilizer. ATF  has  determined  that  the  fire  started  in  the  seed warehouse that was connected to the fertilizer storage building and the cause of the fire has been determined to have been a criminal act. The criminal act is still under investigation with ATF issuing a $50,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. Source: Asmark Institute
 
PSM Lawsuit Update: Just Tell Us Yes or No
Did  OSHA  overstep  their authority  on  July  22,  2015  when  they  rescinded  the  letter  of  interpretation  that originally granted the "retail exemption" to our industry?  ARA and TFI have petitioned the court to dispense with  oral  arguments  asking  simply  for  a  "yes"  or  "no"  opinion  to this  question.    We  were  looking  to  this decision  as  a  key  indicator  of  the  future  of  PSM  until  OSHA's Assistant  Secretary  of  Labor  for  Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels sent a letter to every member of Congress on May 6th.  In the letter, OSHA  appears  to  be  doubling-down  on  their  position  as  he  advises  members  that  the  agency  has  already begun  amending  the  PSM  Standard  to  define  the  retail  exemption.    He  is  asking  them  to  "not  take  further action  that  would  limit  the  scope  or  applicability  of  the  guidance  during  such  time  as  OSHA  conducts rulemaking."  The letter also indicates the agency plans to begin enforcement of PSM on October 1, 2016.
Source: Asmark Institute
 
OSHA's Letter Sparks Controversy
Given the close timeframe of the ATF announcement and the letter to Congress by Dr. Michaels, industry has pushed  back  with  a  new  fervor  wanting  to  know  how  PSM  came  to  be  when  anhydrous  ammonia  was  not involved in the West, Texas tragedy-and now reportedly a criminal act and not the potential safety incident scenario.  Also at issue is OSHA's intention to begin enforcement on October 1st despite their plan to complete rulemaking sometime within five years.  Add the "wildcard" of being an election year-with special emphasis on "wild" this year, and the future of this issue becomes exponentially harder to predict the outcome. Source: Asmark Institute 
 
Are Your GHS Efforts on Track?
OSHA's Hazard  Communication  Standard  in  1983  gave workers  the "right  to  know,"  but  the new  Globally Harmonized System gives workers the "right to understand."  Since 2012,OSHA has been bringing the United States into alignment with the Globally Harmonized System (GHS)of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals
with the following deadlines:
 
So, what should I have done already?
•Train employees on the new label elements and safety data sheet (SDS) format. (12/1/2013)
•New SDSs should be in a uniform format. (06/01/2015)
•Comply with either the final standard or the current standard, or both.(5/31/2016)
 
What do I need to do by June 1, 2016?
•Update  alternative  workplace  labeling  and  hazard  communication  program  as  necessary and  provide additional  employee  training  for  newly  identified  physical  or  health  hazards.  Update  your  Hazard Communication Program to discontinue use of the term "MSDS" and other outdated information.  Retailers are fortunate that practically all of the products they receive are already marked with GHS labeling, however, if you have any "left-over" products in your facility, you
may need to apply the correct GHS labeling. Source: Asmark Institute
 
Fertilizer Bills Advance in Missouri General Assembly
Legislation that MO-AG supports is off to a fast start in the Missouri General Assembly.  SB655 and HB1728 both create the Fertilizer Advisory Board.  SB655 was 'perfected' on the Senate floor and now moves to the House.  HB1728 was approved by the House Agricultural Policy committee.  SB769 and HB1729 affirms that it is the State's responsibility to regulate the use of fertilizer.  HB1729 also was
approved by the House Agricultural Policy Committee.  SB769 is expected to be heard by the Senate Agricultural Committee this week.  One of the quickest moving pieces of legislation this session has been a resolution (HCR58) to disapprove the State Tax Commission's assessment that taxes on agricultural land be increased by 5%.  HCR 58 was approved last week and became the first legislation to be Truly Agreed and Finally Passed this session.  The Show Me Rural Jobs Act, HB 1927, was heard this week in the House Economic Development Committee. The bill creates economic incentives for businesses that invest in rural business concerns.  Transportation funding is a top topic again this year.  Last week the Joint Committee on Transportation met to hear testimony from MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna.  According to McKenna the quality and funding of Missouri's infrastructure is still behind the majority of the nation.  Their current operating budget covers general maintenance but does not provide enough funding to respond to a large emergency or any significant repairs. This coupled with the number of aging and weight deficient bridges means that the infrastructure is continuously deteriorating, with no funding cushion to react in the event of a major problem.  To see other 'legislation of interest', CLICK HERE.

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