GMO labeling, energy policy, regulatory actions and water transportation were among the top issues discussed by members of the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) meeting in Washington, DC last week.
ARA Chairman Harold Cooper of Premier Ag says their biggest priority was the retail exemption to OSHA’s Process Safety Management (PSM) regulations. “OSHA has elected to take a statute that’s over 20 years old, that excluded our industry from a lot of the stringent quality control measures that manufacturers typically have to do, they’ve now included us as retailers in that with our ammonia operations,” said Cooper, who adds that this could result in additional costs for retailers without any real benefits and possibly some locations having to close, leading to farmers having less choices.
Learn more in this interview: Interview with ARA chairman Harold Cooper
GROWMARK Executive Director for Corporate and Government Relations Chuck Spencer, who joined in legislative visits with ARA, says labeling issue for genetically modified products is a top legislative priority for his cooperative. “We need to have a federal standard on genetically modified labeling,” said Spencer. “We’re proposing to have a voluntary system so if individuals want to purchase a GMO-free product, the marketplace can respond much like the national organic standard.”
Government regulation is also a big issue, especially when it comes to the EPA. “We need transparency, consistency and predictability from our regulatory system,” Spencer noted.
Learn more about GROWMARK legislative priorities in this interview: Interview with Chuck Spencer, GROWMARK