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Upcoming Events





July 15-16, 2015
MO-AG Summer Meeting;
Lake Ozark, MO

August 7, 2015
Missouri CCA Exam;
Columbia, MO

December 15-16, 2015
MO-AG Convention;
Columbia, MO

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Our Mission

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."

 

2015 Pyramid of MO-AG Program Sponsors

Click here to view the pyramid in a larger format or click here to become a sponsor. Thank you to all of our Program Sponsors!

  

MO-AG Minute

Click here to get the latest MO-AG Minute.

 

MO-AG Summer Meeting

The MO-AG Summer Meeting is a great chance to see old friends, make new ones, golf, shoot trap, fish and raise money for the Jim Russell Foundation. Join us July 15th-16th, 2015 at Camden at the Lake, Lake Ozark, MO. The deadline to pre-register for the MO-AG Summer Meeting is Friday, July 10th. Please try to pre-register as we are not guaranteed to have enough food at the banquet if you do not. 

The other deadline that is approaching is the deadline to reserve a hotel room. Please do so by Thursday, July 2nd you are not guaranteed a room after this date. Hotel reservations can be made by calling 573-365-5620; mention MOAG0715 to get the below rates:
 
Rates: $131/night plus tax for Deluxe Rooms
$141/night plus tax for One Bedroom Suite
$161/night plus tax for One Bedroom Double-Bed Suite

We hope to see all of you at the Summer Meeting!

Click here to see the brochure and here to register!

 

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.

 

Congress Acts on WOTUS
The House passed H.R. 1732, the "Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015" by a vote of 261-155 with 24 Democrats crossing party lines to support the bill. The Act would 1) Require the U.S. EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw the proposed rule defining "Waters of the United States" (WOTUS). 2) Require the agencies to engage in meaningful consultation with state and local governments and other affected stakeholders before developing a replacement rule. 3) Ensure the new rule is based on sound science. 4) Require the agencies to conduct a realistic economic impact analysis.   Leaders of a Senate Subcommittee announced that they will hold a legislative hearing on S. 1140, "The Federal Water Quality Protection Act" on May 19th. This legislation aims to provide clear direction with regard to the types of water bodies that are exempt from federal regulation under the Clean Water Act. Source: TFI
 
Chaos at the Capitol
The Missouri Senate quit early on the final day of its session, causing the demise of numerous bills.  Conceding that nothing more could be accomplished, Senate Majority Leader Ron Richard moved that the Senate adjourn around 3:15 p.m. - nearly three hours ahead of the 6 p.m. deadline.  Senate Democrats stalled work to demonstrate their frustration about Republican passage of a bill limiting union powers earlier this week.  In the House, Speaker John Diehl resigned, two days after a news report that he had exchanged sexually suggestive text messages with a Capitol intern.  House Majority Leader Todd Richardson then was elected by colleagues to take over for Diehl and pledged to get the chamber back to its businesses of passing bills.
 
"Obviously, over the past weeks and months, it has been a rather difficult session at times for a variety of reasons," Richardson said. Source:  Associated Press
 
Post Compares GMOs and Climate Change Science
There is no credible evidence that ingesting a plant that has been swiftly genetically modified in a lab has a different health outcome than ingesting a plant that has been slowly genetically modified through selective breeding. The National Academy of Sciences, the American Medical Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the World Health Organization have concluded that GMOs are safe to eat. This scientific consensus is at least as strong as the one on human-caused climate change. Chipotle, Whole Foods and those who follow their examples are doing real social harm. They are polluting public discourse on scientific matters. They are legitimizing an approach to science that elevates Internet medical diagnosis, social media technological consensus and discredited studies in obscure journals. They are contributing to a political atmosphere in which people pick their scientific views to fit their ideologies, predispositions and obsessions. And they are undermining public trust in legitimate scientific authority, which undermines the possibility of rational public policy on a range of issues. Whatever the intention of those involved, embracing pseudoscience as the centerpiece of an advertising and branding effort is an act of corporate irresponsibility. Source: Washington Post
 
USDA Develops GMO-free Label
The Agriculture Department has developed the first government certification and labeling for foods that are free of genetically modified ingredients.  Certification would be voluntary - and companies would have to pay for it. If approved, the foods would be able to carry a "USDA Process Verified" label along with a claim that they are free of GMOs.  Right now, there are no government labels that certify a food as GMO-free. Many companies use a private label developed by a nonprofit called the Non-GMO Project.
 
Secretary Vilsack said the USDA certification is being created through the department's Agriculture Marketing Service, which works with interested companies to certify the accuracy of the claims they are making on food packages.  Companies pay the Agricultural Marketing Service to verify a claim, and if approved they can market the foods with the USDA label.  The USDA label is similar to what is proposed in a GOP House bill introduced earlier this by Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., which provides for USDA certification but would not make it mandatory. The bill also would override any state laws that require the labeling.  The food industry, which backs Pompeo's bill, has strongly opposed individual state efforts to require labeling, saying labels would be misleading because GMOs are safe. Source:  BIO

 

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


 

 

 
 
 

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