WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — The House of Representatives on Sept. 28 passed the bipartisan Agriculture Reauthorizations Act of 2015, H.R. 2051, by a voice vote. The Senate passed the bill on Sept. 21, also by voice vote. The measure went to President Barack Obama for his signature. H.R. 2051 will reauthorize the United States Grain Standards Act, the Mandatory Price Reporting Act and the National Forest Foundation. The Grain Standards Act and the Mandatory Price Reporting Act had been set to expire on Sept. 30. Under H.R. 2051, the acts were reauthorized through fiscal 2020.
“I am thankful to my colleagues for getting our work done and passing this legislation before the Mandatory Price Reporting Act and the Grain Standards Act are set to expire,” said Representative K. Michael Conaway of Texas, chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture. “These bipartisan bills will provide certainty for farmers and ranchers and prevent devastating impacts on our nation’s meat industries and grain exporters.”
Representative Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota, ranking member on the agriculture committee, urged members to approve the bill saying, in part, “The U.S. Grain Standards Reauthorization Act (one of three reauthorizations combined in H.R. 2051) will allow the Federal Grain Inspection Service to continue official weighing and inspection services. Both grain buyers and sellers rely on a ‘gold standard’ quality assurance, backed by the federal government, when conducting business.”
The National Grain and Feed Association and the North American Export Grain Association said provisions relating to the reauthorization of the Grain Standards Act included several reforms to FGIS operations and the official grain inspection system they sought, including a requirement that the U.S. Department of Agriculture approve requests for waivers of the official grain inspection requirement if the FGIS fails to restore official inspection service in the event of disruption of such service, unless the disruption was caused by an “emergency.” The bill also included language that establishes transparent disruption notification and reporting requirements to Congress if and when the FGIS is unable to immediately restore official inspection service.
Brett Blankenship the National Association of Wheat Growers president and wheat grower form Washtucna, Washington, D.C. said, “This bill establishes more transparency and ensures there is no disruption in inspection services should a delegated state agency discontinue providing services. This bill provides the certainty wheat growers need. It’s important to have bipartisan bills like this make their way through Congress and we look forward to the President signing the bill into law.”