Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives Agriculture Committee introduced the text of H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (the “Farm Bill”). Introduction of the measure was initially expected in February, however House Democrats expressed concern over reforms to the current federal food stamp program and the bill was held back by the Committee Chair Mark Conaway (R-TX) to allow for opportunities to negotiate alternative language. However, it became increasingly clear that no compromise could be reached and so the bill was introduced as originally drafted.
The farm bill is a periodic regulatory fix that addresses multiple aspects of agricultural production and is typically a place where revisions to pesticide regulation are proposed. NALP has worked with the Pesticide Policy Coalition and other allies to ensure that several issues related to pesticide regulation are addressed in the bill. As drafted the measure would
- Codify pesticide preemption at the state level, preventing localities from regulating the sale and use of pesticides and strengthening the ability of State Lead Agencies to regulate use of pesticides.
- Fix the current disconnect in the pesticide consultation process between FIFRA and the Endangered Species Act
- Eliminate the need for unnecessary and redundant National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permits (NPDES)
The legislation is scheduled for formal review and mark up by the Agriculture Committee on April 18. The mark-up hearing will If the Farm Bill passes out of the Agriculture Committee, the next step will be a full vote by the House of Representatives. NALP is highly engaged in this legislative effort and will continue to keep members apprised as the measure progresses through Congress.