U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross (FL-15) applauded passage of the amendment that he and U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney (FL-17) introduced to H.R. 1947, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013. The amendment would encourage the Department of Agriculture to coordinate with federal departments and agencies in the development of regulations and procedures for handling agricultural chemicals. It expresses the sense of Congress that agricultural nutrients and chemicals play an important role in the production of American agriculture. His statement follows:
"Sometimes, other federal departments create well-intentioned regulations for the purpose of keeping us safe, without realizing the negative impacts on our farmers and ranchers.
"Sadly, terrorists who will stop at nothing to undermine our way of life have illegally manipulated certain agricultural nutrients and chemicals. In response, the Department of Homeland Security has been developing and implementing a set of security regulations to secure and limit access to these products, such as ammonium nitrate.
"The agricultural community understands this and understands the need to be vigilant to ensure that we not only have the most productive agriculture industry in the world - but also the safest.
"Ammonium nitrate is used as a fertilizer on crops and pastures, especially in warm, moist climates like Florida. It is incredibly important to the many citrus growers in my district.
"Our amendment simply asks that USDA play a role during the rule-making process -- to ensure growers, farmers, and other agriculture stakeholders have a seat at the table so that our safety nor our food supply is jeopardized."