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Reiboldt’s bill puts regulation of seeds, chemical fertilizers in hands of agriculture agencies

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — One representative’s bill aims to allows farmers to continue being good stewards of the land in the best way they know how.

Introduced by Rep. Bill Reiboldt, HB 1614 would leave the regulation of seeds and chemical fertilizers to agencies that have expertise in agriculture. The legislation prohibits any political subdivision from adopting or enforcing any regulation relating to seeds, chemical fertilizers and soil conditioners — though there was talk of soil conditioners being excluded in the final version of the bill.

“This is a preemptive bill,” Reiboldt said.  “We would rather the USDA or the Department of Ag regulate the use [of seeds and fertilizers], rather than municipalities.”

Taking this step to protect farmers is not unprecedented. Agriculture is one of Missouri’s largest industries, contributing $33 billion in value-added and employing 378,232 people, or 10.5 percent of Missouri’s workforce, in 2016, according to a report prepared for the Missouri Department of Agriculture. 

Reiboldt’s bill on agricultural inputs would leave regulations to agencies that have a reservoir of knowledge on agriculture and agriculturalists. The Missouri Agribusiness Association, the Missouri Corn Growers Association, the Missouri Soybean Association and the Missouri Farm Bureau all spoke in support of the bill.  

Rep. Tracy McCreery was concerned over soil conditioners being included in the bill.

“The idea that large amounts of manure can be used as a soil conditioner,” McCreery said, based on the definition, was concerning.

Reiboldt corrected the assumption, stating, “This only deals with chemical fertilizers.”

However, the concern wasn’t manure as a fertilizer, but rather a soil conditioner, given the definitions in the legislation.

“I am a little concerned that this bill was written it allows manure or animal waste to be exempt,” McCreery said.

There was talk of soil conditioners not being included in the final bill, however, the House Agriculture Policy Committee has taken no action on the legislation and it has not been amended at this point.