Public Policy


The Voice of Agricultural Retailers in Washington D.C.

The Agricultural Retailers Association public policy staff advocates for agricultural retailers' best interests at the federal level. ARA's three registered lobbyists constantly monitor agencies, regulations and legislation that could impact agribusiness.

ARA members may call the office anytime to get assistance with issues that directly impact your business. Concentrate on running your business and allow ARA’s expert public policy team serves as your eyes and ears on regulations and legislation.

Clean Water Act Jurisdiction

Issue Summary: The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed expanding the definition of Waters of the United States under the Clean Water Act. Virtually all waterways would be covered by the proposed regulation. This will significantly increase agricultural liability and production costs. Under the proposed rule, more pesticide applicators would need National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permits.

ARA Position: Congress should require the EPA to comply with Congressional intent and authority granted under the CWA. Read more...

Transportation Reform

Issue Summary: Lack of rail competition is a critical problem for American industry. Three-quarters of U.S. rail stations are served by only one major rail company. Congress created the Surface Transportation Board to evaluate customer rates when a railroad has market dominance, but current STB policies make the agency virtually inaccessible to customers with rate disputes.

ARA Position: Legislation is needed to make STB a more timely, efficient and equitable regulatory agency. ARA supports streamlining STB rate case procedures to create a meaningful dispute resolution process. Analysis of STB operating rules is necessary. The Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act would make the STB a more viable forum for handling rate issues and passed the Senate Commerce, Science & Transporation Committee by a voice vote in 2014. Read more...

Pro-Growth Agenda

Issue Summary: The complex tax code is stifling economic growth. Despite being manufactured with similar components, construction and agricultural equipment are depreciated on different schedules. The formula to calculate full-time equivalency for seasonal workers under Affordable Care Act is onerous and costly to agribusiness.

ARA Position: Support comprehensive tax reform, fix the agricultural equipment depreciation schedule and reform estate planning tools. ARA supports the STARS Act, which, among other reforms to the Affordable Care Act will change the formula to calculate full-time equivalency for seasonal workers. Read more...

NPDES Pesticide Permitting

Issue Summary: In 2009, courts overturned EPA's 2006 rule exempting aquatic pesticide applications from NPDES permitting. Before this decision, the federal government had never required a permit to apply pesticides -- NPDES permitting is a major duplication of regulations.

ARA Position: Congress must amend the law to protect applicators from duplicative requirements and legal liability. Strong bipartisan support exisits in the House and Senate. Legislation passed in the 112th (HR 872) and 113th (HR 935) Congress by wide margins. Read more...

GMO Labeling

Issue Summary: Genetically modifed organisms play an important part in our food supply, and have for decades. Every major scientfic and health organization has concluded GMOs are safe for humans and the environment. With less available ariable land and limited water supply, GMOs provide the best opportunity to increase food production. A recent study by Cornell University said the average family's grocery costs could increase by $500 annually under the patchwork of state and local GMO mandates.

ARA Position: Consumers expect consistent, scientfically sound and meaniful labeling. ARA supports the "Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act," which would reaffirm the FDA's role as the authority for food safety and labeling requirements. Read more...

Public Policy Team

Richard Gupton
Richard Gupton

Vice President Public Policy and Counsel

Hunter Carpenter
Hunter Carpenter

Director of Public Policy

Letters to Agencies and Congress

ARA joined with a coalition of organizations to provide comments on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s...

ARA and a number of other national trade organizations have submitted a letter to the EPA requesting...