Environmental Measures to Turn Farmers Away From Conservation25 June 2014
US – An environmental law will slow the adoption of conservation practices on farms, the House Agriculture Subcommittee heard last week.
Farmer exemption under the ‘interpretive rule’ of the Clean Water Act will expand the jurisdictional reach of the Environmental Protection agency, according to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
Farmer and rancher liability is set to increase under the new ‘interpretive rule’.
While 56 farming and ranching practices are exempt, providing they meet Natural Resource Conservation Standards (NRCS), any deviation from the standards could warrant a $37,500 fine.
Mr Andrew Fabin, a cattle producer and crop grower from Indiana, Pennsylvania testified before the Subcommittee saying: “As a farmer, my willingness to implement voluntary conservation practices has been greatly diminished, despite my desire to improve and protect the waters on my farm.”
He said that the NRCS was created to help farmers on a voluntary basis but that NRCS staff will now spend ‘their entire time’ checking compliance on conservation activities.
He added: “The model of voluntary conservation that has been the pinnacle of farmers and ranchers protection of our natural resources is going to be upended.”
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