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ARA Board Chairman Testifies Before House Agriculture Committee on Supply Chain Issues

Nov 03 2021

The U.S. House of Representatives Agriculture Committee held a hearing on “The Immediate Challenges to our Nation’s Food Supply Chain.” Rod Wells, chief supply chain officer for GROWMARK, Inc., and Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) board chairman, was selected to testify on the panel.

"There is no easy fix to the supply chain disruptions facing the agriculture industry and any solutions need a multi-pronged approach including, but not limited to, issues of infrastructure, crop input production and regulation, energy, labor, pro-growth economic policies, and food equity,” said Rod Wells. "Any long-term solutions to addressing the challenges we face in supply chain disruptions will only be found through the continued partnership between suppliers, transportation providers, ag retailers, their farmer customers, and regulating authorities.”

"ARA is pleased to have our chairman testify before the Committee and appreciate Rod’s willingness and the support of GROWMARK to make him available,” said ARA President & CEO Daren Coppock.  

“ARA will continue to work with congress on this important issue,” continued Coppock. “It is our sincere hope they put aside partisan politics to find real solutions to the supply chain disruptions and infrastructure challenges our industry faces.”

ARA supports the following policy solutions to address the nation’s supply chain challenges:

  • Investment in transportation infrastructure (roads, bridges, waterways, ports, rail, rural broadband) urging immediate House passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill;
  • Reform efforts at the Surface Transportation Board (STB) and Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) to address rising demurrage and detention costs to shippers and promote increased competition;
  • Protect and support the continued sale and use of essential crop input products (pesticides, fertilizers, seed, etc.) following a science and risked based regulatory system (ex. FIFRA) that fosters innovation and newer technologies that will protect the environment, enhance agricultural production, promote sustainable agricultural practices, and strengthen America’s food supply;
  • An “All of the Above” Energy strategy to ensure energy independence that promotes domestic energy production (oil, natural gas, etc.) and reduce dependence on foreign sources of energy and promote increase domestic manufacturing (ex. nitrogen fertilizer);
  • Biofuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel, to be used as part of a low-carbon economy and oppose efforts to ban the internal combustion engine;
  • Policies that promote a sustainable workforce through H-2A reforms, increasing the number of available commercial drivers (Drive Safe Act; Season Ag CDL reforms), Hours of Service agricultural operations exemption reforms and increased truck weights to ensure increased efficiencies; and
  • Pro-growth economic policies that protect current tax provisions and promote free and fair trade.

ARA has previously submitted comments to both the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) regarding supply chain disruptions in response to Executive Order 14017, “America’s Supply Chains.”

Click here to watch today’s House Ag Committee hearing.

Click here to read the full testimony of Rod Wells.