Federal Biostimulation, CRP Acres Set Free, and Other Legal News

Federal Biostimulation

Congress Aims to Bring Order to the Wild, Wooly World of Biostimulants

The Plant Biostimulant Act of 2022 was introduced in Congress this month as an amendment to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The bipartisan bill sponsored by U.S. Representatives Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) and Jim Baird (R-IN) would establish a federal definition for “plant biostimulants.”
The legislation provides this definition:

The term ‘plant biostimulant’ means a substance, micro-organism, or mixture thereof, that, when applied to seeds, plants, the rhizosphere, soil, or other growth media, act to support a plant’s natural processes independently of the biostimulant’s nutrient content, including by improving nutrient availability, uptake or use efficiency, tolerance to abiotic stress, and consequent growth, development, quality, or yield.

It also provides a definition for “nutritional chemical”:

“(1) means a compound or mixture that interacts with plant nutrients in a manner which improves nutrient availability or aids the plant in acquiring or utilizing plant nutrients; and
“(2) includes some plant biostimulants.

The bill would exclude plant biostimulants from FIFRA’s regulatory reach since they are not pesticides.
The use of “biologicals” to grow food and crops has grown rapidly in recent years and is expected to become a major production input for agricultural producers. We previously noted that “biologicals” were not well defined, making it difficult to figure out how to bring these products to market under current regulations. The proposed federal definition under the Plant Biostimulant Act provides a starting point and brings clarity for businesses and regulators seeking to introduce biological inputs as a new tool in food and crop production.

Russia-Ukraine War, High Food Prices Lead to Early Termination of CRP Acres

The USDA recently announced that it will allow Conservation Reserve Program participants the chance to terminate CRP contract early so those acres can be put into production. Participants that are in their final year under a CRP contract may opt to terminate early, after the 2022 primary nesting season, which would open those acres up for fall-planted crops such as winter wheat, or get the land ready for spring planting. USDA cited the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war on world supplies of wheat, corn, barley, and other crops as one reason to bring these idled acres back into production. More information is available from the Farm Service Agency web site.

Answer the Call for Agriculture!

Send the USDA Your Comments on Anti-Competitive Issues in Seed, Fertilizer, and Ag Inputs

The USDA is seeking the public’s help to answer questions regarding market competition challenges in (i) fertilizer, (ii) seed and agricultural inputs, and (iii) food retail and distribution markets.

We are continuing to highlight this opportunity to make your voice heard in Washington D.C. on issues that are extremely important to the U.S. agricultural sector. Last week we published each of USDA’s questions for which they are asking for answers. Click HERE for the list of questions, or go to the web site of the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Written comments can be posted online at regulations.gov or mailed to Jaina Nian, Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA, Room 2055-S, STOP 0201, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250-0201.

Anonymous comments will also be accepted.

The deadline for submission is June 15, 2022!

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