Tag Archives: Farm Bureau

Time to Ditch The Rule

1 Oct

Note: The following is a column I wrote for our local paper, The Platte County Record Times, as part of my local Laramie Peak CattleWomen‘s monthly column.

Ditch the Rule | The Farm PaparazziDid you know that regulations can have big, often negative, impacts on your local farmers and ranchers? Platte County producers are well aware of this fact. As responsible stewards of the land and our livestock, we work hard to use the best environmental and animal care practices available. Yet, government agencies continue to weigh down our family farms and ranches with more and more burdensome regulations.

The most recent example is the proposed expansion of regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act. Under the “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) proposed rule, power will be given to the Environmental Protection Agency and US Army Corps of Engineers to dictate land-use decisions and farming practices in or near puddles, ponds, ditches and more. The rule will make it more difficult to farm or change a farming operation to remain competitive and profitable.

On our farm, we take measures to properly use chemicals and healthy tillage practices. On my neighbors’ ranches I see them provide the best environment and care to their cattle, horses and other livestock. I see wildlife making their habitat among the fields and pastures of family farms and ranches. I visit with agriculture producers at conferences and meetings as we update our education with the latest, most scientifically-sound production practices. I watch as older generations pass on good values and ethics to their children and grandchildren. Farmers and ranchers in Platte County and across the United States work extremely hard to provide the world with safe, healthy and affordable food, fiber and by-products. We do this every day with environmental sustainability in mind, because we need the land to stay healthy for generations to come.

Ditch the Rule | The Farm Paparazzi

Under the EPA’s proposed rule, even temporary bodies of water like irrigation ditches and ponds will be heavily regulated. Please send your comments to EPA by Oct. 20th and tell them to stop their overreach!

Still, the federal government proposes what the American Farm Bureau Federation calls “a serious threat to farmers, ranchers and other landowners.” According to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, almost all activities on open land will now touch a “water of the United States” under the expanded definition. Even the most temporary water sources, like irrigation ditches, would be regulated. The rule would require landowners to get the permission of the federal government anytime they needed to expand, do maintenance, or perform routine activities like driving a tractor through a pasture. Imagine if you had to get a permit every time you drove your car to work!

Many local, state and national groups within agriculture and beyond are calling on people to tell the EPA how detrimental this regulatory overreach will be. Many groups, including your local Laramie Peak CattleWomen and Laramie Peak Stockgrowers, believe the expansion of WOTUS language is contrary to the U.S. Constitution, the plain language of the Clean Water Act, and Congressional intent and is therefore illegal.

Whether you’re a landowner or not, please take time to submit comments to the EPA by the Oct. 20, 2014 deadline. Visit http://ditchtherule.fb.org/ or http://cqrcengage.com/beefusa/ to learn more and submit your comments today.

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