Bayer Lobbyist Luke Tomanelli Says to Watch How Outside Factors May Impact 2018 Farm BillTue, 27 Feb 2018 06:57:22 CST
During the 2018 Bayer AgVocacy Forum in Anaheim, Calif. this week, Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Associate Farm Director Carson Horn spoke with Luke Tomanelli, deputy director of federal relations for Bayer Crop Science to get his latest legislative update from Washington, DC. According to him, the one issue dominating the agriculture world right now in terms of policy is of course the drafting of the next Farm Bill. He discussed with Horn some of the factors at play as the House draws closer with its plans to move forward with their initial legislation sometime prior to Easter. Listen to their complete conversation by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
“A lot of uncertainty… nobody ever knows with the Farm Bill,” Tomanelli said. “We joke that it’s like sausage making - everyone wants to see the outcome but no one want to see what goes into it. But, specific to the Farm Bill, the big item that we’re watching is product specific amendments or attempts to modify policy for certain types of products.”
For instance, Tomanelli says a bill was recently reintroduced dealing with neonicotinoids that would remove certain products from the market until further research was conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency. However, it is challenges like this, based on political pressure, that Bayer opposes. Instead, Tomanelli insists that such decisions should be based only on sound scientific research and addressed through the proper process of the law under which such crop protection products fall, known as FIFRA or the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act.
“We think the best way for specific products and classes of products to be addressed is through the scientists at EPA and the experts at the regulatory agencies through FIFRA,” he said. “As opposed to Congress making a political decision to remove a product. We don’t think that’s the way to do it and it doesn’t set a good precedent.”
Tomanelli says leaders of both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees are committed to a timely reauthorization of the Farm Bill and believes all stakeholders are eager to work together and cooperate in order to see that goal accomplished. Outside factors, though, are what he and others worry will hinder the bill’s progress.
“The question about the Farm Bill is the same as any other large piece of legislation now, which is how the larger political dynamics play out; how do the Midterm elections play into it,” he explained. “Will there be an extension; is there enough time on the floor and what other non-Farm Bill things might come up that complicates the debate? I think the ag industry is well inline to get this Farm Bill done, it’s just sort of this sense of what’s coming down the pipe that could get in its way.”
Beyond the Farm Bill, though, Tomanelli and the Bayer team is also closely monitoring other issues on Capitol Hill, including the reauthorization of the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act. You can hear Tomanelli speak more about it and other policy issues with Horn, by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below.
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