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AgGateway is introducing a comprehensive agricultural glossary that can be freely accessed and used by the industry to facilitate accurate communications. 

The glossary is a one-stop location in the form of an online wiki for agriculture terms, definitions, acronyms, key words and synonyms. The glossary pulls from a number of established industry sources and includes government definitions for key terms, from "field" and "production" to "irrigation" and "pump." 

There are currently more than 3,000 terms in the glossary. 

The glossary is now available at http://agglossary.org. A major impetus for creating the new glossary is the need for defined terms when establishing eBusiness connections between companies, which is AgGateway's mission. 

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CF Industries recently announced a new partnership with Chevrolet to benefit the National FFA Organization (FFA). CF Industries is donating $600,000 to FFA to support excellence in farmer education and fertilizer best management practices. 

"Our future farmers must rise to the challenge of growing enough food to feed a global population projected to reach nine billion by 2050," said CF Industries President and CEO Tony Will. "The efficient use of fertilizer is essential to meet this challenge. Teaching tomorrow's farmers the best information about fertilizer is truly in everyone's interest."

The pilot program will be funded through the sale of voluntary carbon reduction credits earned from fertilizer manufacturing. CF Industries operates facilities that installed nitrous oxide abatement technology in 2008, earning credits for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

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Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) recently introduced DISCLOSE 2014 with numerous cosponsors, including Rules Committee Chairman Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).

The legislation, like its predecessors in the 111th and 112th Congresses, is designed to chill the political speech of corporations, business interests, and others, while giving labor unions special protections.

The Senate Rules Committee is scheduled to have a hearing on the legislation tomorrow, and a mark-up of the legislation could occur before or, shortly after the August recess.

ARA has signed onto a multi-industry letter voicing strong opposition to the bill to Chairman Schumer, Ranking Member Roberts and members of the Rules Committee.

"The legislation is purported to be even-handed in its treatment of labor unions, corporations and business associations, but the reality is that it is designed to burden business groups significantly while effectively exempting labor unions," the coalition states in its letter. "The legislation's manifest purpose is to impose exceptional burdens on the speech of corporations and business interests based on their identity as corporations and their presumed hostility to the political objectives of the legislation's supporters."

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) assistance for losses to bush or tree fruit crops due to frost or freeze during the 2012 crop year.

The program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides supplemental NAP payment to eligible producers.
NAP enrollment began July 22. Applications must be submitted to FSA county offices by Sept. 22, 2014.

Interested producers can view the 2012 NAP Coverage for Frost, Freeze or Weather Related Fruit Losses Fact Sheet at http://go.usa.gov/5kSQ, or visit a local FSA office. To find out if land is located in an eligible frost/freeze county, visit http://go.usa.gov/53rz. Read more...

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Do you know an employee or customer who would make a great spokesperson for American agriculture?

U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) is looking for the new Faces of Farming & Ranching. To help put a real face on agriculture, USFRA will select standout farmers and ranchers who are proud of what they do, eager to share their stories of continuous improvement and who are actively involved in sharing those stories in public and on social media.

To apply, visit www.FoodDialogues.com/Faces to complete an application entry form, and to submit a video no longer than three minutes that shows your operation and your role on the farm/ranch. Entries will be accepted beginning on Thursday, July 10 until Sunday, August 10, 2014 at midnight CT.

ARA would welcome the opportunity to endorse a candidate and be willing to assist in the application process. 

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The 2014 Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) Conference & Expo will be held December 2-4 in New Orleans at the Sheraton New Orleans - French Quarter. The premier conference for leaders of the agricultural retail industry offers exhibitors direct access to customers to network and showcase your products.

Exhibit space sold out early in 2013 and ARA is again anticipating a sold out show this year so reserve your space today! The 2014 conference devotes more than seven hours to the trade show, providing ample one-on-one networking opportunities with company owners and managers -- leaders in the agricultural retail industry and decision-makers within their organizations. This annual gathering is the place to build personal relationships with the industry's trailblazers.

Last year's trade show featured 100 exhibits and more than 650 attendees. Book your space early with Burmeister & Associates, Inc., to avoid missing out on this exclusive opportunity!  Submit your contract now

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Last week ARA hosted "What to Expect from a CFATS Authorization Inspection," a webinar developed in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security. The agency continues to make progress on the implementation of the Chemical Facilities Anti-terrorism Standards (CFATS) Program. ARA members what steps to take towards CFATS compliance, and exploration different approaches in their Site Security Plans in addition to preparing for a CFATS Inspections.

DHS officials leading the call suggested regulated facilities should re-evaluate their SSPs, commitments for planned measures and expected outcomes of an inspection. The webinar provided insight into the latest developments in and lessons learned from CFATS authorization and compliance inspections, and to provided members with a basis for determining what changes you may need to make to your SSP.

What to Expect from a CFATS Authorization Inspection
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The House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy, and Forestry held a hearing on June 19 to review the Interpretative Rule Applicability of Clean Water Act (CWA) Agricultural Exemptions. 

"There is growing concern the newly proposed rule released by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps poses a grave threat to the economic vitality and ecological health of our farming communities," said Subcommittee Chairman Glenn 'GT' Thompson

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Last week President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum creating a Pollinator Health Task Force to be co-chaired by the Secretary of Agriculture and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

The mission and goals of the task force include developing a research and education plans and building public-private partnerships to improve and increase healthy pollinator habitat. ARA supports the development of a comprehensive strategy promoting bee health and ensuring sustainability agricultural production in the United States.

The memorandum identifies a combination of stressors impacting bee losses, including poor bee nutrition, loss of forage lands, parasites, pathogens, lack of genetic diversity, and exposure to pesticides. ARA looks forward to working with Task Force members as this important initiative moves forward.

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Chemical Safety Board Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso, who spoke at the ARA February Board Meeting, was questioned about CSB's whistleblower provisions in front of Darrell Issa's House Oversight and Government Reform committee June 19. After the hearing a reporter asked whether he'd consider leaving his post. Moure-Eraso said, "My brain is fried. I don't want to have to think or talk about this anymore."

The hearing follows an 84-page report from the committee detailing a toxic environment and mismanagement at the agency. According to the report, "Chairman Moure-Eraso and (Managing Director Daniel) Horowitz created a toxic work environment that resulted in the departure of at least nine experienced employees from the CSB. Because experienced employees left CSB, investigations dragged on for years."

Read the full report here

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Vice President of Public Policy and Counsel Richard Gupton traveled to Orange Beach, Ala., to participate in the Alabama Crop Management Association's Summer Meeting June 19.

Gupton provided an update on Responsible Ag, as well as an overview of the recently released Government Accountability Office (GAO) and Executive Order Working Group reports on improving chemical facility safety and security. ARA would like to thank ACMA and their members for inviting ARA to participate in this important industry meeting.

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ARA Director of Public Policy, Jeff Sands, attended the Field to Market (FTM) plenary last week in Fayetteville, Ark. FTM is a member-driven group that brings many from the food/retail, agribusiness, conservation-focused NGO's, and grower sectors together to promote outcome based sustainability in agriculture.

This event provided an opportunity to gather information on supply chains, perceptions surrounding "big data", and reports from grower groups on their efforts. ARA will likely continue to work with FTM in the future to ensure collaboration with our upstream and downstream partners and provide exposure to perspectives from outside ag retail.

For more on Field to Market, please visit www.fieldtomarket.org

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Ag retailers are key influencers of many on-farm decisions. On July 2, at 2 p.m. EDT, ag retailers are invited to participate in a free webinar to hear strategies to recognize and resolve profit-robbing conditions on customers' farms.

The focus will be on helping to resolve conditions that also contribute to phosphorus losses to Lake Erie Basin waters. Ag retailers and growers must act to improve water quality, prevent harmful algal blooms and avoid additional regulations that could limit grower productivity.

The webinar, hosted by the IPM Institute of North America as part of the Partnership for Ag Resource Management (PARM) project, will address sensitive issues that retailers may be hesitant to discuss with growers. Participants will learn about cutting edge tools and the latest science to meet profit and resource management goals.

This webinar has been approved for 1 Professional Development CCA Continuing Education Unit.

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Mathy Stanislaus, who heads the agency's national Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, will participate in a community meeting dealing with chemical security, an issue of particular concern in Louisville, with its heavy industry and rail traffic.

"Community Forum on Preventing Chemical Disasters in Louisville," will run from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 25, at the Yearlings Club, 4309 W. Broadway.

Stanislaus intends to discuss a presidential order on chemical facility safety and security, which President Barack Obama signed last year after a deadly blast at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas. Stanislaus also is scheduled to discuss an earlier presidential order on environmental justice and take some questions from the community.

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The Agricultural Retailers Association and more than 45 other trade associations sent a letter to House leaders urging support for targeted truck weight provisions included in the 2015 Transportation-Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act.

"The ability of states to secure accommodations within federal truck size and weight laws helps to make roads safe by keeping heavier vehicles off state and local roads and allowing them to drive on Interstate Highways," the letter states.

The language in Section 125 pertains to the states of Wisconsin, Mississippi, and Idaho.These provisions are tailored to the unique economic and safety needs of each state, only permitting the use of trucks that are already being driven in those states today.

The letter continues: "If our manufacturing, distribution, agriculture, construction, and forestry industries are to prosper in today's global economy, it is essential that we be allowed to compete on a level playing field.Section 125 allows specific states to pursue limited, targeted provisions designed to allow trucks that are already in use in those states to remain on Interstates, rather than having to navigate intersections, pedestrians, railroad tracks, and school zones on local or county roads."

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The Agricultural Retailers Association joins more than 70 other trade associations from a broad cross-section of industries urging the Obama administration to repeal a mandate that all cargo entering the U.S. be scanned for explosives and other toxic substances.

The 2006 statutory requirement "has always been, and remains impractical and does not actually improve security," the groups said in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. "If implemented, this provision would have a significantly negative impact on global commerce and cause significant conflict with the governments of our foreign trading partners, many of which have stated their opposition to the requirement previously."

The letter follows one from Johnson to Congress notifying lawmakers that he was delaying the implementation deadline for another two years.

Currently, the department's Customs and Border Protection agency uses a risk-based system to screen U.S.-bound containers and inspect those deemed a high risk. In their letter to Johnson, the trade groups said the current approach was working and urged the law's repeal.

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As the possibility for achieving comprehensive tax reform has dwindled, Congress has been working on legislation to extend previously expired or newly expiring provisions in the tax code.

Among these provisions is the America's Small Business Tax Relief Act of 2014. H.R. 4457 would restore the small business expensing level to $500,000, including limited improvements to real property and permanently index the amount for inflation. Given the expensing level reverted to $25,000 for 2014, ARA felt that it was imperative to support legislation that gives our members and their customers a tool to help grow their businesses and create jobs.

The House of Representatives is set to consider H.R 4457 this week. To read the letter of support, click here. For more information on extenders or ARA's efforts on tax policy, please contact ARA Director of Public Policy, Jeff Sands at jeff@aradc.org

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The National Protection & Programs Directorate's Office of Infrastructure Protection (NPPD/IP) and the Chemical Sector Coordinating Council are co-sponsoring the 2014 Chemical Sector Security Summit in Baltimore, Md., July 23-24, with Pre-Summit activities on July 22.

The eighth annual Summit will provide a forum for representatives from the chemical community to obtain a better understanding of chemical security regulations, foster public/private dialogue across key topic areas, share best practices, discuss cyber trends and tools, exchange information and network with other security professionals, and gain insight into the roles of industry and Federal, State, and local agencies and departments involved in chemical security.

To register, go to: http://www.cvent.com/d/w4q20d/4W. For more information, go to www.dhs.gov/chemical-security-summit

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Syngenta is holding a contest for creative ideas that will support one or more of the six measurable commitments of The Good Growth Plan, a sustainability initiative designed to address the global food security challenge.

The Good Growth Plan Grant Contest will award one Grand Prize of $20,000 to help the winner implement the idea. Also, three runners-up will receive $10,000 each for the same purpose. Deadline for submissions is July 14, 2014.

The Good Growth Plan addresses the overall food security challenge with six measurable objectives to boost resource efficiency, rejuvenate ecosystems and strengthen rural communities.

To submit an idea for the contest, please see www.GoodGrowthPlanGrant.com. For inspiration on grant ideas, watch our animated video http://youtu.be/Bbjzo9seNX0

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The American Society of Agronomy is hosting the first of three webinars, In-Season Pest Issues: Insects, Weeds and Diseases, June 18 at 1 p.m. (CDT)

Specific to 2014, this webinar will take a look at some of the Integrated Pest Management issues you will face in the field. Whether you are fighting insects, weeds, and/or diseases, there will always be something you can do to improve the health, and eventual yield, of the crops you manage. Our panel of experts will help you identify unique opportunities for improvement and develop a plan of action to combat these issues.

Panelists include Erin Hodgson, an Associate Professor, Department of Entomology at Iowa State University; Tamra Jackson-Ziems, Extension Specialist and Associate Professor, Department of Plant Pathology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; and Amitkumar Jhala, Assistant Professor and Extension Weed Management Specialist at University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

CEUs are available for this webinar. Check out www.agronomy.org/education

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