Debate Grows Around Reauthorization of Grain Standards Act

The Senate Ag Committee is starting work to reauthorize the Grain Standards Act – but the issue of private versus government inspectors could complicate the task. The National Farmers Union is urging the Senate to pass a clean Grain Standards bill – calling the current system the World’s Gold Standard.  NFU Chief Roger Johnson has written Ag Chair Pat Roberts and Top Ag Democrat Debbie Stabenow asking that private grain inspectors not be used to replace government inspectors…
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But Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley feels privatization will not cost integrity…
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The way Grassley sees it…tape
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But NFU is also concerned the Grain Standards Act renewal may eliminate the Ag Secretary’s discretion to send in inspectors – and the timeframe in which the grain inspection service must respond to a disruption. NFU’s Johnson says a House Ag-passed bill removes the Ag Secretary’s discretion to intervene in a timely way during disruptions – like the recent West Coast ports dispute – and allows some privatization through state-designated inspectors.
American Soybean Association Director Bill Gordon also testified before the Senate Ag Committee Tuesday called.  He called on the committee to help ensure grain inspections under the Grain Standards Act remain mandatory and continuous – even in the event of a work stoppage due to strike or lockout. Gordon encouraged the Committee to engage USDA on whether it has discretion to clarify when and how it will act to resolve a disruption of export inspection services by delegated state agencies. If the discussion is in any way inconclusive – the American Soybean Association believes the Committee should strengthen the language in the Act requiring FGIS to take action according to a fixed timetable based on a number of hours rather than days or weeks. ASA also recommends any state agency that withdraws services be suspended until USDA completes a review that confirms the agency is capable of resuming services without further interruption.