FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(May 5, 2015)
Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106
WASHINGTON (May 5, 2015) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson this week urged the Senate to pass a clean reauthorization of the U.S. Grain Standards Act, calling the current system “the world’s gold standard.”
“Today’s framework, overseen by the Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS), is the world’s gold standard and our export partners have faith in that standard,” said Johnson in a letter to Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. “For a penny a bushel we have a cost-effective system that ensures consistency, reliability and accuracy. Our members have faith in the current system and as such request a clean reauthorization of the Grain Standards Act for a period of no less than 10 years.”
Johnson highlighted the continued drive towards privatization of the U.S. grain inspection system, a move that would weaken the strong reputation of U.S. exporters.
“The most concerning issue for our members is the continued drive towards the privatization of our grain inspection system,” said Johnson. “This nation’s trading partners trust the existing system, and changes to this system that result in inspections being conducted by entities other than the federal government or a delegated state agency would diminish the trust that has taken decades to build.”
Johnson also raised a number of concerns related to the House Agriculture Committee’s U.S. Grain Standards Act Reauthorization Act of 2015, including the elimination of the agriculture secretary’s discretion to send in inspectors, the timeframe in which FGIS must respond to a disruption, and the higher prominence give to designated inspection services.
Johnson did note that, “We are deeply concerned over the secretary’s failure to act during the 2014 disruption at the Port of Vancouver,” however he stated, “the secretary, in any administration, needs to maintain discretion during such situations.”
National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.