By Sarah Gonzalez, Director of Communications and Digital Media
NGFA outlined its opposition to a recently enacted grain grading law in Arkansas, as well as several aspects of its proposed implementation by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture, in comments submitted to the department on Aug. 19.
“As proposed, the rule would add significant requirements that transcend those contained in the U.S. Grain Standards Act within the state of Arkansas for grain dealers, whether state-licensed or not,” wrote NGFA President and CEO Randy Gordon and Midsouth Grain Association President Dian McGuire, who serves on NGFA’s Board of Directors. “Further, as proposed, the rule has the potential to create negative consequences for farmers and grain dealers marketing corn, soybeans and wheat in Arkansas.”
Arkansas proposed new grading rules for corn, soybeans and wheat that are scheduled to take effect before the 2019 fall harvest. Among other provisions, the proposal would require grain dealers to have their grain samplers and graders undergo state-approved instruction in the methods of sampling and grading grain based on procedures utilized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS). Grain dealers also would be required to sample and grade each load of grain delivered by a producer within 24 hours and retain grain samples for two days for loads subject to “excessive deductions” for grain damage. The proposed rule would define “excessive deductions” as meaning corn, soybeans and wheat that contain more than 4 percent total damage.
In its comments, NGFA noted that U.S. grain quality already is regulated by FGIS. “NGFA has a long history of advocating for a federal official grain inspection and warehouse regulatory system, including the original enactment and subsequent updating of both the U.S. Grain Standards Act and U.S. Warehouse Act,” the comments noted. These federal laws have provided “a uniform set of rules to the United States and helped the U.S. grain industry achieve its reputation as a reliable supplier of safe, high-quality and competitively priced grain for U.S. and foreign consumers.”
NGFA, which has 25 member companies operating facilities in Arkansas, outlined several recommendations in its comments regarding implementation by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture of the new grain grading law in Arkansas.
“The grain storage, handling, processing and export industry…relies on consistent regulations to provide competent and reliable services to facilitate the efficient and cost-effective marketing of U.S. grains and oilseeds,” the comments stated. “We believe the Department’s consideration and adoption of our recommendations will help maintain the competitive position of Arkansas grains and oilseeds in domestic and export markets.”