Not every issue important to the agriculture industry got a seat on the bus yesterday. The continents of the omnibus spending bill completed last night supports a repeal of country-of-origin labeling (COOL), modifies the dietary guidelines, and allocates a significant amount of money to agriculture research and food safety. Great news, except the broad sweeping $1.1 trillion spending package lacks the riders that would prevent state GMO-labeling laws and block the EPA’s Waters of the U.S. Rule.
It’s Congress’ unwillingness to oppose the EPA rule that has farmers worried, and they expressed their frustration this morning to “AgriTalk” host Mike Adams. “It’s just a complete and utter disappointment,” said Jack Lavers, a farmer from California. “It is just a bunch of empty cash being thrown at a problem and it doesn’t fix anything.”
The industry remains concerned about what it considered an overreach of the EPA in the Waters of the U.S. Rule. Despite a recent hand slap for public coercion via social media, the agency hasn’t faced much opposition from the Capitol about the new rule. Many agriculture groups lobbied to have a rider that would block the rule included in yesterday’s spending bill, but it didn’t make the cut.
“Here in the real world, we are going to be hammered down by the 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.”
With the lack of legislative action, 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 Missouri farmer Mike John. He said a failed checks-and-balances system is how this issue came to be.
While it is clear most in the industry are upset about the rule, Don Lamb from Indiana suggested farmers focus on what they can control -- how they farm.
“I think in general right now, there are just so many things going on that we tend to get overwhelmed,” he said. “There’s so much on the national scene that we can’t control. 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.”