The final replacement rule for the controversial Waters of the U.S. rule is now published in the Federal Register. American Farm Bureau Federation’s Don Parrish says the new Navigable Waters Protection Rule that replaces WOTUS is clearer in its definitions and exclusions, making farming and ranching easier. Among the big wins for Ag he points out, exclusions for potholes, ditches, stock ponds and other land features that fill when it rains, as well as prior converted cropland.
“We know that, that impacts a lot of acreage, particularly acreage that is maybe, some of our best agricultural lands. We appreciate and support the need to protect true wetlands, but things that were converted back, around the turn of the last century, the early 1900’s, that have been farmed, that will continue to be farmed, will be some of the most productive agricultural land in the country.”
“We’re very hopeful that this is, number one, going to be very protective of water quality, but number two, get the federal government out of trying to regulate land use with a clean water statute,” Parrish continued.
Meantime Parrish said Farm Bureau’s next focus amid the coronavirus pandemic, and as the President seeks more small business deregulation and improved infrastructure, is the food supply chain, which he said is under immense pressure. He added AFBF will do “whatever it takes” to make sure agriculture can get back on its feet, when the pandemic subsides.
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