The House late Wednesday passed S.4054, the Grain Standards Reauthorization Act of 2020, by voice vote.
The bill had already passed the Senate on November 16 and now goes to President Donald Trump for his signature. The U.S. Grain Standards Act was first passed in 1916, and its current authorization passed in 2015 is set to expire on December 11. The new bill would provide a reauthorization until September 30, 2025.
“The inspections provided by the Federal Grain Inspection Service define and classify grains as well as assign grades to specify weight and quality requirements, and these inspections provide a gold standard assurance backed by the federal government to both grain buyers and sellers,” House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., said after the bill passed. “American grain farmers participate in a very competitive world, and foreign grain buyers should be confident in the process that we have in place to ensure our exports are adequately inspected.”
Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., noted that the bill establishes marketing standards like weight and quality for certain grains and oilseeds including corn, soybeans, wheat and more, and re-establishes “a clear and fair set of guidelines for buyers and producers to follow in order get their goods to market.”
House Agriculture Committee ranking member Michael Conaway, R-Texas, said, “The Grain Standards Reauthorization Act lays the foundation for grain and oilseed marketing benefiting the entire agricultural value chain. Passage of this legislation delivers regulatory stability and certainty for farmers, handlers, and processors.”
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Senate Agriculture ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., praised the House action.
“I'm pleased the 2020 Grain Standards Reauthorization Act has quickly moved through both chambers of Congress to deliver certainty and predictability to the federal grain inspection system,” said Roberts. “I'm hopeful President Trump swiftly signs this legislation into law to ensure America can uphold its reputation as a dependable exporter of quality grain.”
“Now more than ever, it is critical that we provide certainty for farmers,” said Stabenow. “We are one step closer to enacting this bipartisan legislation and protecting our credibility as a reliable producer of high-quality crops.”
The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) commended the House for approving the bill.
“This legislation, which would reauthorize the U.S. Grain Standards Reauthorization Act for another five years, provides certainty while improving the official inspection and weighing system by providing more transparency, information-sharing, and better data,” said NGFA President and CEO Randy Gordon. “This legislation is foundationally important in providing for official grain inspection and weighing services through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Federal Grain Inspection Service, as well as that agency's maintenance of the U.S. grain standards that are relied upon by buyers, sellers and end-users to merchandise grains and oilseeds in domestic and international markets. Ultimately, this law benefits U.S. and global consumers by enhancing the utility and efficiency of the grain marketing system.”
FGIS establishes official marketing standards for grains and oilseeds under the authorization provided by the U.S. Grain Standards Act, which included provisions to ensure uninterrupted export inspections.
“With our farmers facing tough economic challenges, including several years of low commodity prices and headwinds blowing against overseas demand, it is critically important that we at least maintain a smooth grain inspection system. We applaud Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate for working together to get this piece of legislation passed by the end of the year,” said National Association of Wheat Growers President and Cass City, Mich., farmer Dave Milligan. “To maintain a properly functioning grain inspection system, NAWG encourages the president to sign this bill into law before the closing of 2020.”
“This law and our system of standardized, independent grain inspection makes U.S. wheat more valuable,” said U.S. Wheat Chairman Darren Padget, a wheat farmer from Grass Valley, Ore. “The proof of that came this year when many of our overseas buyers expressed a real concern that the pandemic would interrupt our supply chain and FGIS [Federal Grain Inspection Service] inspections.”
Roberts and Stabenow also released the text of the Senate bill, a summary of it and a letter of support from farm groups.
-S.4054 - United States Grain Standards Reauthorization Act of 2020 https://www.congress.gov/…
– Summary description https://www.agriculture.senate.gov/…
– Section-by-section description https://www.agriculture.senate.gov/…
Jerry Hagstrom can be reached at email@example.com
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