ARA staff hit the field last week at a number of industry meetings before the upcoming annual conference in San Diego. President & CEO Daren Coppock traveled to California to speak at the Independent Agribusiness Professionals Northern California Sales meeting in Monterey, and then was joined by Member Services VP Donnie Taylor in Wichita at the annual Kansas Agribusiness Expo. ARA's Public Policy Counsel Michael Kennedy attended the Fertilizer Industry Round Table (FIRT) meeting in Philadelphia.
The previous week found ARA representatives participated in the AgGateway conference in Albuquerque, the Southern Crop Protection Association Conference in Amelia Island, Florida; and the National Association of Farm Broadcasters (NAFB) annual meeting in Kansas City. During the NAFB Convention, ARA's Immediate Past Chairman Doyle Pearl participated in numerous radio interviews with broadcasters from several states across the country.
Coppock's presentations in California and Kansas discussed the outcome of the recent elections, the severity of the fiscal cliff and debt situation in Washington, and regulatory and legislative issues ARA is pursuing on the federal level.
"Our government spends more in one month on interest than the entire annual budget of USDA or EPA," Coppock remarked Thursday morning in Kansas. "And that's when money is essentially free. You can't inject $850 billion in stimulus spending and several rounds of quantitative easing - expanding the money supply - without causing inflation and higher interest rates at some point. When that happens, the interest bill will get bigger and consume a larger share of our federal budget."
Congress returned this week to a "lame duck" session where the looming fiscal cliff is expected to be a central issue on the agenda. ARA continues to work on priority policy issues such as a legislative fix for the NPDES permitting requirements for pesticide applications, and is carefully monitoring several regulatory developments or expected rulemakings from EPA, OSHA, DHS and other agencies.