A new Environmental Protection Agency rule will illegally expand EPA jurisdiction to millions of acres of once-unregulated farm land, exposing farmers to fines and penalties for ordinary farming activities, the American Farm Bureau Federation told Congress today.
"The EPA isn't content with regulating just water — they want to control land use, too, even though Congress and the Courts have already told them no," Don Parrish, Senior Director Regulatory Affairs at the American Farm Bureau Federation said.
The agency's overreach, Parrish said, ignores the will of Congress and courts, alike. And as bad as the rule is, the agency compounds farmers' problems by calling into question dozens of exemptions for basic farming techniques through a separate, interpretative rule already in effect.
"Farmers face an impossible choice," Parrish said. The proposed rule that expands jurisdiction and the interpretive rule together are a bad idea that threatens livelihoods as well as local land-use and zoning authority. It's time to ditch this rule."
The Clean Water Act, signed into law in 1972, protects the nation's waters from pollution of all sorts. But Congress gave states, not the EPA, the primary responsibility to oversee land use. The latest proposal would turn that relationship on its head.
Farm Bureau, together with dozens of other farm and industry groups, is fighting the EPA's Waters of the U.S. overreach. Find out more at ditchtherule.fb.org.
Delivering on its promise to encourage and provide financial support for agricultural safety and health interventions at the local and/or regional level, the Agricultural Safety and Health Council of America (ASHCA) has made the first awards of its Safety Grant Program.
Grants were judged on their potential to facilitate timely application of evidence-based safety/health strategies by producers, hired farm workers and their families. Grants (up to $10,000) for 2014:
· "Equipment for Onsite Safety Training in Livestock Operations," Gordon Moore, Moore Ag Safety, Goodwell, OK.
· "Development of a Mobile App for Agricultural Hazard Assessment and Mitigation," Alex Heiphetz, AHG, Inc., State College, PA.
· "Learning How Safety is NOT an Accident on Dairy Farms," Judy Wright, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Auburn, NY.
· "Agricultural Safety for Farmers and Farmer Cooperatives in Southwest Georgia," Cornelius Key, Flint River Farmers Cooperative, Newton, GA.
· "Respirator Training Program and Fit Assessment for Agricultural Producers," Michael Pate, Utah State University, Logan, UT.
· "Arthritis Prevention and Self-management program for Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers in North Carolina," Nick Turkas, Arthritis Foundation, Mid-Atlantic Region, Charlotte, NC.
· "Safe Play Zones for Farmworker Children," Mike Gempler, Washington Growers League, Yakima, WA.
· "Staying a Step Ahead: Heat Illness Prevention Training for the Agricultural Industry," Amy Wolfe, AgSafe, Modesto, CA.
· "Equipping Farmers with Tools in Farm and Food Safety," Ben Burkett, Indian Springs Farmers Association, Petal, MS.
· "Electronic Library of Safety & Training Resources," Robert Aherin, University of Illinois/Grain Handling Safety Coalition, Urbana, IL.
Grant recipients will be sharing their project results with ASHCA members and others. For information on the program and Frequently Asked Questions, go to www.ashca.org.
The next grant submission deadline is Jan. 7, 2015. Priorities for 2015 funding will be posted on www.ashca.org by early September.
John Deere announced an alliance with Dawn Equipment Company, Inc., a manufacturer specializing in ground engaging tools and active control systems for planters. The alliance allows John Deere to sell and support Dawn hydraulic-controlled down-force systems, row cleaners and closing wheels for planters.
"With this agreement, we will be able to collaborate with Dawn to distribute customizable, hydraulic-control down-force systems and attachments to enhance overall planter performance," said Aaron Wetzel, vice president of the global crop care platform. "Utilizing Dawn technology, producers will be able to have an automated, closed-loop control for planter hydraulic down-force, displayed on an HD map from an iPad in the tractor cab."
Customers will also be able to purchase Dawn's complete line of M Series closing wheels and other products through the John Deere dealer channel.
"We're very excited about this alliance with John Deere," said Joseph Bassett, president of Dawn Equipment Company. "Our line of planter attachments, ground engaging tools and hydraulic control down-force systems lead the industry in performance and will be even more customizable through this relationship with John Deere."
Current offerings from Dawn will focus on retrofitting the current line of John Deere 1770, 1770NT and DB Planters. These products will also be compatible with the recently introduced MaxEmerge 5 and ExactEmerge 1775 and 1775NT Planters.
"This is another example of how we're offering producers additional solutions to help them maximize machinery performance and, ultimately, crop yields. Our industry-leading portfolio of planting solutions will deliver even more options in the future to improve planter performance," Wetzel said.
For more information about John Deere products, visit www.JohnDeere.com or visit with a local John Deere dealer.
For information about Dawn Equipment Company, Inc. and their portfolio of products, visit www.DawnEquipment.com.
Syngenta is accepting applications through Sept. 15 for the Resistance Fighter of the Year Leadership Program at www.resistancefighter.com. In its sixth year, the program is open to dedicated advisers who are passionate about helping growers manage resistance.
This year's program reflects a wider range of challenges on farms across the U.S.
"In the past, the Resistance Fighter of the Year Leadership Program focused solely on herbicide resistance management — but we recognize that growers must also think about potential resistance to other pests as well," said Melissa Lord, Syngenta communications lead. "This year, we've expanded the program to include those advisers who have made significant efforts to help growers manage resistance to fungicides, insecticides and nematicides as well."
County extension agents, consultants and other agronomists who have successfully implemented resistance management practices with producers in their area are encouraged to apply for this opportunity. Program applicants should have an in-depth understanding of one or more types of resistance and work proactively to ensure grower success by implementing good stewardship practices and reducing the impact of resistant weeds, insects, diseases and nematodes.
"As a county extension agent, being recognized as an expert in weed resistance management has positively impacted my career," said Jeremy Kichler, 2009 Resistance Fighter of the Year winner. "I would tell a peer interested in applying for the Resistance Fighterof the Year Leadership Program that it's a great opportunity to travel, learn and interact with and develop networking opportunities with other experts in the industry. It will give you a great opportunity to advance and enrich your career."
Visit www.resistancefighter.com to recommend an adviser or apply for the program. Applications will be accepted until Sept. 15.