A proposed rule released last week by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) clarifying its jurisdiction over waters of the United States under the Clean Water Act deserves a thorough review and farmer input, says the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA).
"This rule will impact farmers," says ISA Policy Director Carol Balvanz. "What is required is time to fully digest and comprehend the full report and encourage farmers to provide their unique insights to make sure the rule works for those who will be most impacted by its implementation and enforcement."
The proposed rule will soon be open for public comment. Balvanz encourages farmers to make their opinions heard during the 90-day comment period that will begin once the rule is published in the Federal Register. To access the rule and to make a comment, go to http://www2.epa.gov/uswaters.
Soybean farmers, Balvanz says, are pleased that the rule recognizes 53 conservation practices established by the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Farmers are extremely interested in how the directives and definitions will be implemented.
"The details will matter," says Balvanz. "This is too important of an issue to engage only in a battle of sound bites and headlines. That is why our members will thoroughly review the language in the proposed rule and evaluate how its implementation may impact soybean farmers."
Roger Wolf, ISA director of Environmental Programs & Services (EPS), adds that farmers are active participants in environmental issues and frequently engage with the EPA. The ISA, he says, recognizes the work of EPA head Gina McCarthy and her commitment to listening to and learning from farmers.
"Farmers recognize the public benefits of clean water and that what occurs in the landscape impacts water downstream," Wolf says. "They have increased their adoption of practices designed to improve environmental performance and invested millions of dollars during the past year to match Water Quality Initiative funding provided by the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy."
Wolf says the ISA's EPS department and On-Farm Network(R) bring credible and reliable data and research programs to the table to improve the long-term sustainability of soybean production and improve the competitiveness of soybean farmers. To learn more about ISA, go to www.iasoybeans.com.