Major Changes to MDNR Rules
A new rule go into effect May 1st that affect agrichemical facilities (i.e. fertilizer, herbicides). The rule mainly does two things. First, the rule eliminates the requirement to obtain construction permits for concrete secondary and operational containments. In 2013, HB28, a bill supported by MO-AG and passed by the Missouri General Assembly, changed state law by removing the requirement that agrichemical facilities obtain construction permits for concrete secondary and operation containments. The law change is now reflected in this rule. Secondly, the new rule also eliminates the requirement that all agrichemical facilities must apply for, or maintain, an operating permit. After this regulation change, Clean Water Commission regulations do not require businesses with a SIC code of 5191 to apply for an agrichemical operating permit. A local retail facility that mixes or blends fertilizer on a small scale is likely classified under SIC code 5191, and therefore, are no longer required to have an operating permit. If you are not a retailer and thus do not fall under the SIC code 5191 exemption, you will need to maintain your permit and there are some new requirements of the permit.
Robert Brundage, MO-AG's legal counsel, looked out for the interests of MO-AG members throughout this multi-year process of revising this rule after the 2013 law change. Thank you, Counselor. I would also like to thank Governor Greitens and his staff. At the CWC on January 11th, final approval of the rule was on the Commission's agenda. The Commission, however, tabled the rule stating concerns with Gov. Greitens executive order which expressed a desire to remove 'needless and burdensome regulations.' We met with Gov. Greiten's staff and explained that this rule was a good compromise that actually eliminated regulations for many agribusinesses. The Governor's office understood and acted quickly to allow the rule to move forward. So, again, thank you to Governor Greitens and his staff.
The rule goes into effect May 1st. You should understand the rule, how it may affect you, and what you need to do. To help with that process, an article which provides more background, summarizes the rule change, and discusses what you need to know can be found HERE
. A copy of the rule itself can be found HERE
. Also, a copy of the agrichemical facility permit template can be found HERE
. In particular, note paragraph one of page 2 of the permit (applicability) which describes the relationship between the operating permit, the rule, and SIC codes. If you have any questions, please contact Robert at his law firm (Newman, Comley & Ruth) at 573-634-2266 or contact the MO-AG office.
Governor Greitens Signs Dicamba Legislation
On Friday, Governor Eric Greitens signed into law SCS HCS HB 662 which changed Missouri pesticide law. With the emergency clause added to the bill, the legislation became effective immediately with the Governor's signature. As reported in earlier editions of the MO-AG minute, this bill addresses the illegal, off-label application of dicamba. The law now allows for a penalty of not more than $10,000 for each violation and a penalty of $25,000 per violation for chronic violators. The penalty for refusal to submit information to complaint investigators is $5,000. The language which MO-AG asked be included stating the penalty applies only to persons who "knowingly applied a herbicide to a crop for which the herbicide was not labeled for use" was in the final bill that was signed into law by Governor Greitens.
Governor Greitens signed the bill in Portageville, MO in Rone Hall. Rep. Don Rone was the sponsor of the bill. MO-AG again expresses its appreciation to Rep. Rone for his willingness to work with us throughout the legislative process.
Animal Summit Comes to Kansas City
The Animal Agriculture Alliance's Stakeholders Summit is May 3-4, 2017 in Kansas City, Mo. With the theme of "Connect to Protect Animal Ag: #ActionPlease2017," the conference will build on the 2016 Summit's focus of taking action to secure a bright future for animal agriculture. Speakers will give the audience actionable solutions to take home and implement on their farm or in their business. The conference is an opportunity for anyone who has a vested interest in producing or communicating about the production of meat, poultry, milk and eggs to connect with fellow industry stakeholders. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in engaging discussions and hear out-of-the-box ideas of how we can work together to take on the challenges facing animal agriculture. To register and learn more, visit www.animalagalliance.org/summit/
(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