NAMA hosted the second annual Summer Intern Public Policy Experience in Washington, DC this week. The program is structured to give interns working at member mills an opportunity to learn about the connection between their work in the mills and the legislation and regulations developed in Washington, DC. Attendance grew by 50 percent this year. Three companies participated, including ConAgra Mills, Horizon Milling/Cargill, and Wilkins Rogers Mills. The group met with Senators Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Jerry Moran (R-KS), Representative Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), and White House and USDA staff.
Members of congress and White House staff told the future millers that they will play a key role in keeping rural America vibrant by buying the crops grown there. They also addressed the key role these millers-to-be will play in providing nutritious food to a growing population: up to 9 billion people by the time the interns retire. “The message we heard was ‘what you do is important: millers matter,'” said NAMA President Mary Waters.
As part of the program, NAMA hosted a barbeque on NAMA’s rooftop terrace for all Kansan interns working in Washington, DC.
Go to http://www.namamillers.org/nama-hosts-milling-industry-summer-interns-in-washington-dc-for-a-public-policy-experience/ to read the full news release.
Congressional Hearings Highlight Need for Fumigants in Food and Agriculture Sector
In a July 18 hearing, members of the House of Representative’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power, chaired by Representative Ed Whitfield (R-KY), discussed the phase-out of methyl bromide and also touched on the EPA’s proposed order to delete tolerances for sulfuryl fluoride and cancel associated uses. In addition to the largest use–fumigating soil prior to fruit and vegetable production–the subcommittee also repeatedly stressed the importance of fumigants for mills. Twenty-one members of congress attended the hearing.
Prior to the hearing, NAMA board members who are constituents of subcommittee members weighed in with letters of support for the hearing. In addition to Whitfield, Representatives John Shimkus (R-IL) and Lee Terry (R-NE) attended, as did Fred Upton (R-MI), chairman of the full Energy and Commerce committee. The miller letters were referenced by members and appear in the hearing record.
The subcommittee met again the following day to introduce and mark up (debate and amend) legislation to improve the EPA’s process of reviewing and approving methyl bromide critical-use exemptions. The bill’s title is the U.S. Agricultural Sector Relief Act of 2012. In the mark-up hearing, amendments offered by Whitfield and Terry were adopted. Whitfield’s amendment would instruct the EPA administrator to adjust any critical-use exemption if a methyl bromide alternative were removed from the market, such as is potentially the case with EPA’s proposed order to delete the residue tolerances for sulfuryl fluoride. Terry’s amendment advises the EPA administrator to make sufficient quantities of methyl bromide available for alternatives research.
The bill won’t likely see much action soon, as there are only a handful of workdays left before congress adjourns for the summer and elections. But it could get more serious attention after the elections.
NAMA Members Tentatively Approved for 2014 Methyl Bromide Access
The technical committee of the United Nations Environment Program met this week in Bangkok, Thailand. After full review and analysis, it agreed with the U.S. government’s official request of 36,118 pounds of methyl bromide for NAMA members for 2014 and recommended that the nations agreeing to the Montreal Protocol give formal approval when they meet in Geneva, Switzerland in November. The typical dosage is 1.0 pound of the fumigant per 1,000 cubic feet of space; thus, the recommended quantity is sufficient to fumigate roughly 36 average mills.