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‘I’m from the EPA. Trust me.’

‘I’m from the EPA. Trust me.’

By Gene Hall

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not been shy about pushing for a new clean water rule that extended its already considerable authority over land everywhere in the nation.

In doing so, EPA ignored previous Congressional decisions and Supreme Court decisions. They claimed a joint mission with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Now, documents have surfaced that the Corps was not all that keen on the EPA trampling over the facts.

EPA ignored public comments and engaged in a massive public relations program to sway those comments their way. This is more than playing fast and loose with the facts. This is astonishing arrogance that is confident nothing is standing in the way.

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Agricultural technology is a partner of the human race

Agricultural technology is a partner of the human race

By Gene Hall

I love making lists and writing about lists of accomplishments and great deeds. I can hardly wait during college football season for the “Top 25.”

I don’t know how I missed this list more than a year ago in The Atlantic detailing the top 50 breakthroughs  since the wheel.

Very correctly, I think, the top three on the list are the printing press, electricity and penicillin. Agriculture is also prominent on this list:

No. 6—Some say paper was an agricultural crop. It certainly is today. It’s what made the printing press—and mass communication—work.

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Remembering a celebration of science and technology

Remembering a celebration of science and technology

By Gene Hall

When I was in the eighth grade, my father loaned me his copy of The 1949 Yearbook of Agriculture–“Trees”–to prepare for a 4-H forestry judging contest. It helped our team win third place. When published by the Department of Agriculture, the yearbook devoted a substantial volume to a single subject of research or agricultural science.

When I left for a job with the Texas Farm Bureau in 1977, Dad gifted me his entire collection of USDA yearbooks. I’ve added to it over the years and received some gifts of hard-to-find volumes. I now own every year from 1932 until publication ceased in 1992. There are also volumes from 1896, 1918 and 1919. I’ll continue to collect them. Everyone has to have a hobby.

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Farmers and ranchers support voluntary labeling of GMO products

Farmers and ranchers support voluntary labeling of GMO products

By Gene Hall

I support a GMO product labeling law. Shocked? Well, it’s not THAT one. It’s this one—the Pompeo Bill.

Under its provisions, food sellers may voluntarily label food as GMO-free and gain any market advantage that exists. It also creates a meaningful standard, a certification for those products, under the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) supervision.

If this sounds like an approach that might work, it already has. Organic certification and labeling under USDA has functioned this way for years. In fact, since organic production itself specifies no GMOs, this is a multilayered labeling system that will make it quite easy to avoid a product that is perfectly safe to start with—if you want to.

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Agriculture needs Trade Promotion Authority

Agriculture needs Trade Promotion Authority

By Gene Hall

It’s a safe bet that most of America does not get up in the morning worried about Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and agriculture.

Both, however, are worthy of thought.

There is not much more important to the financial health of a nation than trade. Trade equals jobs, a secure currency and money in the bank. In agriculture alone, in 2014, exports equaled $152 billion. That’s a lot of economic activity—a lot of jobs that could be lost if TPA is not passed.

We have another of the never-ending fights in Washington over TPA.

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