Apr. 19, 2018
CropLife America (CLA) commends the leadership of House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway on the introduction of HR 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, more commonly known as the 2018 Farm Bill. The United States farm economy has suffered over the past several years and Chairman Conaway's Farm Bill reaffirms support for vital programs and protections for rural America. With net farm income languishing through an extended period of depressed stagnation, the Farm Bill ensures certainty by helping producers manage the significant risks that are the norm in agriculture.
The Farm Bill, as introduced, would authorize the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) to make specific findings on protection for threatened and endangered species and their critical habitat, when registering pesticides. "The Farm Bill amends FIFRA to incorporate the current Endangered Species Act standard for protection of threatened and endangered species and their critical habitat," said Jay Vroom, CLA president and CEO. "The proposed form of interagency cooperation and integration of decision-making will replace duplicated efforts, wasted federal and private resources and a de facto deadlock that delays timely approvals of FIFRA regulated products and yet fails to provide additional benefits to threatened and endangered species or habitat," said Vroom.
The Farm Bill also includes the reauthorization of the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA) as passed by the House of Representatives in 2017. "For the past 15 years, stakeholders with an interest in a sound pesticide review process have set aside policy disagreements to support a stable and reliable source of funding for the OPP to carry out its critical mission," stated Beau Greenwood, CLA executive vice president, government relations and public affairs.
"The historical success of this program caused stakeholders to consider a longer reauthorization period when the bill was first being negotiated," continued Greenwood. "We are grateful that Chairman Conaway has included this non-controversial funding program in his Farm Bill and acknowledge the leadership of Subcommittee Chairman Rodney Davis for his skillful effort in moving the PRIA reauthorization across the House floor by voice vote in 2017. Congressman Davis has continued tirelessly to advocate for this program's reauthorization."
Added Greenwood, "The impact of a short-term extension of current law has had undeniably negative impacts on the ability of the OPP to complete its mission, and the inclusion of PRIA in the 2018 Farm Bill demonstrates a desire by this Congress to provide certainty for all stakeholders and especially for the OPP's staffing and morale that have been affected by the slow pace of a long-term reauthorization."
CropLife America looks forward to working closely with the House Agriculture Committee as it seeks to move the Farm Bill later this week.