Agricultural industry continues to face federal regulatory challenges. Thankfully, agriculture’s allies in the U.S. Senate stepped forward.
The Agricultural Retailers Association recognized two legislators who have led efforts to defend the industry’s freedom to operate: Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.). Both were named ARA’s 2016 Legislator of the Year.
ARA recognized the senators for leading regulatory relief from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s illegal Process Safety Management retail exemption enforcement memo, legislative efforts to fix the unnecessary and duplicative permitting required by the National Pollution Distribution Elimination System and overturning the Environmental Protection Agency’s Waters of the United States final regulations.
“It is an honor to present Sen. Blunt and Sen. Heitkamp with ARA’s Legislator of the Year award,” said ARA President and CEO Daren Coppock. “The work they did – across the aisle – to help block PSM enforcement, as well as fight against EPA’s WOTUS rule and NPDES has been invaluable to ag retailers. We appreciate their dedication and continued support for the agriculture industry.”
ARA presents its Legislator of the Year award annually to a member, or members, of Congress who champion legislation important to the agricultural retail industry. The awards were presented during the ARA Board of Directors and Committee Meetings in Washington, D.C.
Blunt accepted the award Monday evening and addressed ARA Board of Directors and Committee members.
“As the son of dairy farmers, I have a deep appreciation for the role agricultural retailers play in sustaining a thriving agriculture industry,” 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.”
Heitkamp, a member of the Senate Ag Committee, accepted her award Wednesday morning during the ARA Board of Directors meeting. In a short discussion with the board, she addressed PSM, WOTUS and agricultural trade.
“I’m proud to receive this award, but I’m even prouder of the work I spearheaded with North Dakota agricultural retailers to stop this standard from hurting our farmers and the rural businesses that support them,” Heitkamp said. “Had the rule gone into effect, it would have forced anhydrous ammonia retailers to shut down due to excessive compliance costs, forcing farmers to pay more and travel greater distances with anhydrous—and that certainly wouldn’t have increased safety. Going forward, I’ll keep fighting wrongheaded federal policies to make sure farmers, ranchers, and the businesses that support them continue to thrive.”
The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA), a nonprofit trade association, advocates, influences, educates and provides services to support sellers of seeds, nutrients, crop protection products, farm equipment, precision technology and agronomic services. For more information, visit: www.ARADC.org.