Farmers React to Final Spending Bill

January 2, 2016 02:16 AM
 
Farmers React to Final Spending Bill

At $1.1 trillion, the package receives mixed reviews

Not every issue important to farmers got a seat on the bus this past December. The omnibus spending bill supports a repeal of country-of-origin labeling (COOL), modifies dietary guidelines and allocates a significant amount of money to agriculture research and food safety. However, the $1.1 trillion spending package lacks riders to prevent state GMO-labeling laws and block Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule.

Congress’ unwillingness to oppose the EPA rule has farmers worried, and they recently shared their frustrations with “AgriTalk” host Mike Adams. 

“It’s just a complete and utter disappointment,” said Jack Lavers, a farmer from California. “It’s just a bunch of empty cash being thrown at a problem and it doesn’t fix anything.”

Despite a recent hand slap for public coercion via social media, EPA hasn’t faced much opposition from Capitol Hill about WOTUS. Many agriculture groups lobbied to include a rider to block the rule, but it didn’t make the cut.

“Here in the real world, we are going to be hammered down by EPA from now on,” Lavers said. “God help us that we win it in the courts because if we don’t we will be in serious trouble.”

At this point, the only way the rule can be overturned is through the courts.

“If the courts are the only solution to the problem, I guess that’s OK,” said Mike John, a farmer from Missouri. He said a failed checks-and-balances system is how this issue came to be.

While many are upset about the rule, Don Lamb from Indiana suggests farmers focus on what they can control—how they farm. “There are so many things going on that we tend to get overwhelmed,” he said. “I think you need to get back to the attitude of ‘what can I control?’ I can control what I do right here. I can control how I raise crops and how I take care of water.”

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