Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and 20 other senators have asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to use common sense when considering future regulations regarding dust and U.S. agriculture. EPA scientists, in a draft policy assessment published earlier this month, said EPA would be justified in “retaining or revising” standards for the type of coarse dust commonly produced by farming operations. In a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, the senators stated, “Producers could potentially be fined for not meeting the PM (particulate matter) standards, while still practicing good management practices on their soils. Considering the administration’s focus on rural America and rural economic development, a proposal such as this could have a negative effect on those very goals. If the EPA publishes a rule that regulates dust at these low levels, excessive dust control measures could be imposed, which could slow economic development and impose significant costs to farmers and businesses. Since EPA would be justified in retaining the current standard, then the current standard should be retained.”

Mandatory Price Reporting — The House Agriculture Committee passed H.R. 5852, the “Mandatory Price Reporting Act of 2010.” The legislation renews mandatory price reporting for beef, pork, lamb, and adds dairy products for five years. The legislation modifies existing law by requiring Mandatory Reporting of Wholesale Pork (MRWP) cuts in order to expand transparency in the pork industry. It also requires USDA to establish an electronic price reporting system for dairy products within one year. Congressman Collin Peterson (D-MN), chairman of the House Agriculture Committee said, “Mandatory price reporting programs ensure that producers have access to transparent, accurate and timely market information that helps them make the best decisions for their business. There is broad support from producer, packer and processor groups to reauthorize these programs." Similar legislation has been introduced in the Senate by Senators Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA).

Veterinary Shortages — The House Agriculture Committee passed legislation to address veterinary shortages in rural communities. The Veterinary Services Investment Act (H.R. 3519) would authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to award competitive grants to help develop, implement and sustain veterinary services. The legislation was sponsored by Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE).

CRP Sign-up — USDA announced that a general sign-up for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) will be Aug. 2-27. Producers may offer eligible land for CRP’s competitive general sign-up at their county Farm Service Agency (FSA) office during the sign-up period.

P. Scott Shearer
Vice President
Bockorny Group
Washington, D.C.