ARLINGTON, VA. — The US Senate Agriculture Committee is considering a bill that will reauthorize and improve the US Grain Standards Act.
The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) and the North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA) said they strongly support the legislation that would reauthorize the US Grain Standards Reauthorization Act for another five years.
The Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) of the US Department of Agriculture establishes official marketing standards for grains and oilseeds under the authorization of the US Grain Standards Act, which was first signed into law in 1916. The existing authorization law, which passed in 2015 and included provisions to ensure uninterrupted export inspections, expires Sept. 30.
“Stakeholders — ranging from producers to grain handlers and processors to end-users and consumers — benefit when (FGIS) and its delegated and designated state and private agencies provide state-of-the-art, market-responsive official inspection and weighing of bulk grains and oilseeds, and do so in a reliable, uninterrupted, consistent and cost-effective manner,” NGFA and NAEGA said in a June 23 support letter to Committee Chairman Pat Roberts and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow.
The NGFA and NAEGA said they support reauthorizing all expiring provisions of the current law for another five years, including: the ability for Congress to appropriate funding for standardization and compliance activities that have broad societal benefits, including to farmers and consumers; authorization for the USDA Grain Inspection Advisory Committee to operate; and the current statutory limitation on the amount of money FGIS can spend on administrative costs not associated with direct inspection and weighing activities.
USGSRA 2020 also includes a number of improvements advocated by the NGFA and NAEGA that they said will promote increased data and information-sharing to benefit the system and its users, including:
• Requiring delegated state agencies to notify users of official inspection or weighing services at least 72 hours in advance of any intent to discontinue such services;
• Ensuring FGIS user fees are directed solely to inspection and weighing services;
• Reporting requests for waivers, exceptions and other specific services received and granted by FGIS; and
• Directing FGIS to complete a comprehensive review of the current boundaries for the officially designated grain inspection agencies in the domestic marketplace.
The NGFA and NAEGA also highlighted their concerns about ongoing non-tariff trade barriers that have restricted exports of US grains and oilseeds, noting that the reauthorization bill retains the provision that prohibits the “use of false or misleading grade designations” for US grain exports.