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U.S. House moves to block EPA water rule

U.S. House moves to block EPA water rule

By Gene Hall

All fans of property rights and reasonable environmental regulation can cheer at a recent vote in the U.S. House. This week, by a vote of 262-152, the House voted to gut a proposed EPA rule to change the Clean Water Act (CWA.)

The CWA has always given EPA the authority to regulate the navigable waters of the U.S. Once this ill-advised rule is implemented, navigable means mud puddles, ditches and places that aren’t wet most of the time—like a “low spot” in a farmer’s field. That means every foot of ground and drop of water in the U.S. That means aggressive fines of many thousands of dollars a day. It also means lengthy and costly permit fights with regulators who may not care if your crop is at risk.

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Texas farmer emphasizes need for workable ag labor force

Texas farmer emphasizes need for workable ag labor force

By Mike Barnett

“A farmer should never have to destroy a crop due to the lack of an adequate labor force.”

Attribute that statement to American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) President Bob Stallman. It is a thought echoed throughout Texas and the nation as food spoils in the field because Congress is unwilling to address labor shortages in agriculture.

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Throw the rascals out

Throw the rascals out

By Mike Barnett

Throw the rascals out.

The words weren’t spoken, but the intent was obvious in the speech delivered by American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) President Bob Stallman at the opening session of the AFBF annual meeting in San Antonio.

Stallman said Congress is falling down in addressing our nation’s and agriculture’s needs including failure to pass a much-delayed and much-needed farm bill and agricultural labor reform.

“I don’t know what you do when an employee doesn’t get the job done…but I can make a pretty good guess,” Stallman said.

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Heritage Foundation not welcome in farm bill discussion?

Heritage Foundation not welcome in farm bill discussion?

By Gene Hall

Has the ultra-conservative think tank Heritage Foundation and its lobby arm Heritage Action been banned from the Republican Study Committee’s farm bill meetings? Yes, according to reporting in the National Journal by Tim Alberta and in Thomas Driscoll’s excellent Ag-to-Go policy newsletter.

In previous farm bill debate, all the Heritage did was misrepresent itself, mislead many Republican House members and embarrass House Speaker John Boehner.

According to Ag-to-Go, Heritage recommended—to cheerleading from many conservatives in and out of Congress—that the farm part of the farm bill be split off from the food stamp part for a separate vote. Many Republicans agreed, and Heritage hinted it was on board.

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What’s the future of the so-called ‘farm lobby?’

What’s the future of the so-called ‘farm lobby?’

By Gene Hall

In the wake of a farm bill debate that has been twisted into some pretty odd rhetoric of late, a growing chorus of critics has pronounced that the coalition of interests known as “the farm lobby” is losing some clout. Personally, if anyone has been watching our nation’s capital, it’s clear that passing ANYTHING these days is a Herculean task. Maybe it’s not so much that the farm lobby has trouble moving the ball. Perhaps it’s that the goal posts keep getting moved back.

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