August 30, 2015

Holding Back the Waters

The National Association of Wheat Growers says it’s pleased by the action of the North Dakota district court late Thursday to block implementation of the Waters of the U.S. regulation. The parties involved in the temporary injunction will not be subject to the new rule, effective Friday, and instead will be subject to prior regulation.

The U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota granted an injunction for 13 states filing the legal action, including the Dakotas, Nebraska, Missouri, Montana and Wyoming.

Regarding the court’s action, NAWG President, Brett Blankenship made the following statement:

“This decision provides breathing room for grower concerns to be discussed in the courts without enforcement of the Environmental Protection Agency’s draconian new rule hanging over the heads of our nation’s family farmers.

We will watch closely the ongoing lawsuits and call on Congress to take action to address the regulation in a comprehensive manner. It is time for action to send the regulation back to the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to be rewritten. Wheat growers support clean water and know the importance of protecting the natural resources that sustain our farming operations, feed our families and feed a growing world population. The Waters of the U.S. regulation expands the reach of the Clean Water act and falls short in providing clarity to growers.”

 

North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple issued a statement regarding court order to delay the effective date of the WOTUS rule.

“This is a very important ruling for the farmers and ranchers of North Dakota, and for the state as a whole,” Dalrymple said. “Until these intrusive rules can be remedied, it only makes sense that farmers be allowed to operate without unnecessary federal government interference.”

 

The office of North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer also released its thoughts on the injunction.

“The court’s decision to issue a temporary injunction is a victory in the first battle of a long war. North Dakota landowners and energy workers and their peers around the country will be temporarily spared the devastating consequences of an onerous rule. This is appropriate, given the judicial history of this issue and its impact on states and property rights. The injunction provides time for Congress to continue working toward a fix and for a complete judicial review of the legal merits of the rule.”

 

Chip Bowling, president of the National Corn Growers Association and a farmer from Newburg, Maryland, also issued a statement:

“We support the judge’s decision in North Dakota, which should give the courts and the public more time to figure out how to proceed with WOTUS. The Army Corps of Engineers has stated this rule is not based on science or law and is unlikely to withstand a legal challenge. When even the federal agencies responsible for this rule can’t agree on its constitutionality, it’s time for EPA to withdraw the rule and start this process over.

From the beginning, we have asked for a rule that provides farmers with clarity and certainty about their responsibilities under the Clean Water Act. Instead, what we got was less clarity and less certainty – along with more paperwork, more permits, and more hassle.”

 

 

 

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Save the Sage Grouse

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced a four-year strategy that will invest approximately $211 million through 2018 in conservation efforts to benefit the greater sage-grouse. The strategy, known as Sage Grouse Initiative 2.0, will build on successful public and private conservation efforts made since 2010 to improve sage grouse habitat. The new plan will provide additional assistance for ranchers to make conservation improvements to their land, which mutually benefits the iconic bird and agricultural operations in 11 Western states.

“The Sage Grouse Initiative has proven itself as a model for how wildlife and agriculture can coexist and thrive in harmony, and that is why we are announcing steps today that will expand this important initiative throughout the life of the 2014 Farm Bill,” said Vilsack. “I applaud America’s ranchers for their initiative in improving habitats and outcomes for sage grouse and other wildlife, and for their recognition that these efforts are also good for cattle, good for ranching operations, and good for America’s rural economy.”

Since its launch in 2010, public and private partners engaged in the Sage Grouse Initiative (SGI) have conserved 4.4 million acres, an area twice the size of Yellowstone National Park, using voluntary and incentive-based approaches for conservation. Between 2010 and 2014, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) invested $296.5 million into SGI, which partners matched with an additional $198 million. By the end of 2018 with implementation of the SGI 2.0 strategy, NRCS and partners will invest approximately $760 million and conserve 8 million acres, an area more than seven times the size of the Great Salt Lake.

NRCS leaders from California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming worked with conservation partners to develop the four-year strategy.

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Telling the Story of Agriculture

The Minnesota Farm Bureau Foundation says DuPont Pioneer has donated $2,000 toward the Sharing the Ag Story effort, which will be focused on developing agricultural education resources for deaf and hearing impaired students.

Pioneer makes contributions to community-based organizations on behalf of the business and employees. Consideration for outreach grants are given to communities where Pioneer representatives, employees and customers live and work and that support quality-of-life initiatives to create an improved, sustainable lifestyle for people worldwide.

We commend the vision and work of the Minnesota Farm Bureau Foundation in their outreach efforts to offer unique learning experiences for nearly 70,000 deaf and hearing impaired students in Minnesota,” said Patrick Yockey, DuPont Pioneer director – Northern Business Unit.

“We want to thank DuPont Pioneer for this grant. We are excited about developing and offering educational resource materials and working with sign language interpreters to engage this sometimes overlooked segment of students,” said Ruth Meirick with the Minnesota Farm Bureau Foundation. “Our goal is to create an environment where students can learn about crops and animals in Minnesota, as well as learn about different types of farming practices and how healthy eating is important to all of us.”

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