In response to the current effort in the U.S. Congress to renew the U.S. Grains Standards Act (USGSA) in 2019, NAEGA and National Grain & Feed Association (NGFA) committees have developed the following priorities for a USGSA renewal:
- Prohibit the Misuse of U.S. Grain Standards Act (USGSA) Quality Factors for Inappropriate and Misleading Purposes: The purpose of the USGSA is to establish official marketing standards for the covered commodities. The precedence and practice of using grain standards quality factors as an indicator of plant health for other sanitary and phytosanitary standards is inappropriate and misleading and should be expressly prohibited.
- Change the Length of USGSA Reauthorization to More than 5 Years but No Longer than 10 Years: Considering the recent successful reorganization and relocation of the Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) into USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, where it previously had resided, as well as the continued improvement of FGIS operations in providing accurate, reliable, timely and more predictable service, NGFA and NAEGA propose that the reauthorization period be moved to a time period of more than 5 years but no longer than 10 years.
- Review of the Current Geographical Boundaries for Officially Designated Agencies in Domestic Markets: To determine if the current number of grain handling facilities in operation, the volume of grain and oilseeds being handled and processed, and the volume of official services and testing being provided are adequate, FGIS should review the current geographic boundaries for each officially designated agency.
- Reporting of USGSA Request for Waivers, Exceptions and Specific Services: FGIS needs to maintain transparency with stakeholders by reporting both requests for waivers and exceptions and specific services and the actions taken subsequently to address both while still preserving confidential business information.
- Reauthorize the USDA Grain Inspection Advisory Committee: The Advisory Committee is designed to provide advice to the Administrator on the implementation of the USGSA. NGFA and NAEGA continue to believe the Advisory Committee serves a useful function by providing expert advice and assistance to FGIS in fulfilling its core mission of ensuring that official inspections are performed in a reliable, consistent and uninterrupted manner to facilitate the export of U.S. grains and oilseeds to global customers.
- FGIS User Fees Should Be Directed Solely to Official Inspection and Weighing Services: Approximately, seventy percent of FGIS’s budget is based on user fees while the remaining thirty percent is covered through appropriated funds. The industry is concerned that assessing additional user fees to finance activities like compliance/enforcement would increase costs of exporting grain, making U.S. exports less competitive in foreign markets.
- USGSA-Related Expenses Should Only Apply to the User Fee Cap: The additional expenses associated with Agricultural Marketing Act commodities have limited the amount of resources that can be spent on administrative costs to improve grading and inspection services related to the USGSA.
- Require Delegated States to Notify Users of Official Inspection or Weighing Services at Least 72 Hours in Advance of Any Intent to Discontinue Service: This important information is needed to enable affected export port locations and their customers to make alternative arrangements to preserve the uninterrupted flow of U.S. exports, preserve the U.S. reputation as a reliable supplier, address logistical problems and potentially lessen the economic harm to U.S. agricultural producers that has resulted from previous official service disruptions.
The full list of priorities can be found here.