Tag Archives: House Ag Committee

Washington, D.C. – Representative Sanford Bishop, Chairman of the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, Representative Jeff Fortenberry, Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, and Representative K. Michael Conaway, Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee, issued the following statement:

“The hard-working farming community invests in many agricultural products and services that help them produce wholesome foods, feed, and quality fibers for consumers in the United States and across the globe. Like most conventional farmers, soybean and cotton producers purchased such a product legally when they bought the dicamba herbicide for this growing season. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently vacated the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) federal registration for three dicamba herbicide products on the market registered for over the top applications. The effect of this ruling during growing season may prevent cotton and soybean farmers from using these products in combating weeds that threaten the quantity and quality of the crop.

“We respect the court’s ruling, but we are concerned with the impact on the farmers who have existing stocks of previously purchased dicamba herbicide products. The decision, which was issued during growing season, creates unnecessary challenges and jeopardizes the livelihoods of these agricultural producers who are already faced with an ongoing global pandemic, trade disputes, and years of low prices. We support EPA’s authority to regulate how existing stocks of the vacated products can be sold, distributed, and used. EPA’s recent filing with the court properly defends the agency’s precedent-based position that farmers should be allowed to use what they legally purchased until July 31, 2020 as long as the farmers abide by all the prescribed conditions of use required by the most recent pesticide registration.”

Background:

  • On June 3, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued an order vacating EPA’s pesticide registrations containing the active ingredient dicamba in three products.
  • On June 8, 2020, EPA issued an order providing farmers with needed clarity following the Ninth Circuit’s June 3, 2020, vacatur of three dicamba registrations.The cancellation order spells out limited and specific circumstances under which existing stocks of affected dicamba products can be used until July 31, 2020.
  • On June 11, 2020, the plaintiffs in the lawsuit asked the Ninth Circuit to order an immediate halt to that use and hold the EPA in contempt, based on their argument that continued use violated the court’s order to vacate the registrations.

On June 16, 2020, the EPA responded to the Ninth Circuit that the June 8, 2020 order was consistent with the Court’s decision and EPA’s authority under FIFRA.

House Ag Chair Collin Peterson and several subcommittee chairs sent a letter to Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue highlighting concerns about the implementation of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.

The letter talks about the continued loss in both value and demand for agricultural products related to the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, they say CFAP doesn’t include commodities under contract, even though several of the most-impacted crops are typically grown under contracts, such as potatoes and malting barley.

USDA chose to cover livestock sales between January 15th and April 15th when COVID-19-related livestock market declines didn’t start until February of this year. Some of the lowest market prices also persisted well beyond April 15th, effectively and arbitrarily picking winners and losers based solely on when livestock was sold without regard to actual market conditions.  Another concern is the wool crop.  Price differences between graded and ungraded wool has raised a flag with sheep producers as cooperatives and individual buyers are not purchasing wool right now do to lost sales with China.  So for many the wool sits in sheds.

The House Ag Committee Chairs also say CFAP doesn’t recognize the cost premium of organic crops by differentiating organic prices for certified organic producers. USDA also used data not fully representative of the farmgate value of some specialty crops to determine their eligibility for CFAP and CFAP payment rates.

In addition to several other concerns, the Chairs point to lingering concerns over staffing levels and the existing workload at Farm Service Agency county offices, as well as what delays those factors may cause in distributing CFAP assistant.