Several recent developments now lead me to believe that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is blatantly biased against production agriculture – and corn ethanol in particular.
The most recent case in point is the EPA’s proposed renewable fuels standard (RFS-2), which the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) impugns as adding “unnecessary costs and inefficiencies to the U.S. grain-handling system.” The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and 11 state affiliates also denigrate the proposal, citing “concern about biases against corn farmers, the lack of transparency in some of the modeling and the excessive burden of regulations on growers.” Even more pointed criticism comes from the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), which states that RFS-2, “would impede the growth of the U.S. biofuels industry, limit opportunity for American farmers and ranchers to grow their businesses and hinder American energy independence.”
Farmers needn’t look too far to see other recent proposals that would add burdensome EPA regulation over crop production, particularly for corn ethanol production. One is the Boxer-Kerry climate change bill, which AFBF states would allow the EPA to “move forward to fully regulate all greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act,” with no exemption for U.S. agricultural production. The EPA also stands to gain additional control over crop production through recent proposed changes to the clean water act, which the NCGA warns, “would jeopardize important exemptions for agriculture, such as Prior Converted Cropland and waste treatment ponds. The new law could also affect ditches and groundwater, which would make … farming operation[s] far more vulnerable to citizen action suits for normal agricultural practices.”
Worried you’ll be sued by simply applying fertilizer and crop protection products to your fields just to maintain current corn yields? I would be, especially if the EPA and their allies in Congress are successful in these recent examples of overreaching power grabs.
If you agree with my assessment, take action! Farm groups like NCGA and AFBF already have tools in place where you can make your voice heard. Go to NCGA’s legislative action center or AFBF’s legislation action center to learn more.
If you don’t agree with my assessment, or have a comment about my editorial, I’d like to hear from you. When writing, please let me know your name, where you farm or work, what your thoughts are, and whether or not I have permission to use your comment in a future Corn E-Digest newsletter. You can contact me (John Pocock) at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, you’re welcome to write to me if you have a comment on any topic related to corn production or if you have concerns or questions about this issue. I look forward to hearing from you. Stay safe, stay profitable, thanks for your readership – and farm on!