WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Steve Daines today applauded the Senate passage of the United States Grain Standards Act Reauthorization Act of 2015, which contains key reforms secured by Daines to ensure Montana farmers are protected from disruptions in federally mandated grain inspections, like what occurred last summer at the Port of Vancouver.
Daines’ provisions maintain continuous required grain inspection for farmers, ranchers and producers. The legislation was passed by the Senate today without opposition. The House is expected to take up the legislation in coming days.
“Today’s passage of the U.S. Grain Standards Act Reauthorization Act is good news for Montana farmers whose livelihoods depend on reliable and on-time grain inspections,” Daines stated. “I’m glad that my reforms to maintain normal shipments and protect Montana farmers from disruptions in the inspections process were included in this bill. I urge the House to quickly pass this legislation so that it can be signed into law and provide Montana farmers with the certainty they deserve.”
This spring, Daines also sent a letter to Senate Agriculture Committee leaders calling on the Committee to include language in the United States Grain Standards Act Reauthorization Act that works to ensure timely and efficient grain inspections from USDA are conducted so that normal shipments of Montana grain can continue uninterrupted. Daines’ reforms were included in the bill passed by the Senate Agriculture Committee in May.
Daines’ efforts to ensure on time grain inspections was applauded by the Montana Grain Growers Association:
“Knowing how critical the Federal Grain Inspection Service is to the uninterrupted flow of grain from Montana farmers to our customers overseas, Senator Daines has been a strong advocate for us in Congress and we very much appreciate his efforts,” Montana Grain Growers Association President Charlie Bumgarner stated. “Steve was successful in inserting provisions in the GSA that will provide more oversight and transparency in the case of any future port disruptions.”
Daines’ provisions included in the United States Grain Standards Act Reauthorization Act of 2015:
- In the event of a disruption, the Secretary is required to immediately take actions as are necessary to address the disruption and resume inspections or weighing
- If the disruption persists, the Secretary is required to notify Congress within 24 hours of a disruption, including a report that describes any actions necessary so that inspections may resume
- Requires the Secretary provide daily updates for the duration of any disruption
Other key provisions in the Act include:
- Creates a certification process that state agencies must go through prior to being allowed to inspect or weigh grain on behalf of the Federal Grain Inspection Service
- Requires certification for state delegated agencies to be renewed every 5 years
- Should a state delegated agency discontinue service, the agency is required to provide USDA with a 72 hour advance notice prior to a non-disaster related disruption
- Requires an extensive report into what happened during the disruption in inspections at the Port of Vancouver in 2014
Daines has been vocal in expressing his frustration on USDA’s failure to conduct federally mandated grain inspections in a timely manner at the Port of Vancouver for several weeks last summer – recently pressing USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to release safety reports conducted during the shutdown. In the House, Daines fought for the immediate resumption of grain inspections at the Port of Vancouver after inspections stopped due to labor disputes.