Biden Administration Promotes New Land Grab on Farmers

by | Nov 30, 2021 |

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Under former President Barack Obama⏤a regulation was passed called Waters of the United States or WOTUS, also called the Clean Water Rule. Under the misleading guise of protecting water for the people, it stipulated that any land containing water that could eventually run off to a creek, stream, or river that might one day end up in a navigable waterway would fall under the jurisdiction of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers. It literally placed every puddle on a farmer’s land in jeopardy of having the farmer required to gain permission from those two government entities to make any changes to their land. It was a completely egregious rule that drove the farmers crazy.

Former President Donald Trump ended the Obama WOTUS regulation on September 12, 2019, and published a more sensible replacement rule on April 21, 2020.

As would be expected from the incompetent Biden Administration, they are placing regulations back in force “to restore federal protections for hundreds of thousands of small streams, wetlands, and other waterways,” according to the Des Moines Register. This simply creates yet one more obstacle for our great American farmers to feed us healthily and economically. As if our farmers did not have enough problems already with the regular attacks from the left today.

Senior author Dr. Jay Lehr has worked with farmers for the past 40 years, crisscrossing the nation lecturing about advances in agriculture. He explains how modern technology has changed the face of cultivation so that it’s no longer your grandfather’s farm or even your dad’s. Yet, in today’s world, environmental leftists try to vilify farmers and the land they work on. As young people take over the family farm, we have a new population of the most hardworking folks in the nation. Jay used to joke that farm kids rarely have green hair, which might be changing today, but they certainly have the hardest work ethic to continue to feed our nation.

The U.S. has just over 2 million farms, 97% of which are family-owned, while each of the remaining 3% generates three times the annual sales of the average farm, which is $350,000 before expenses.

Agriculture generated $374 billion in revenue in 2018. Animal feed is 25% of that from corn, soybeans, barley, oats, and sorghum. 40% of all the corn grown in the U.S., primarily in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, and Nebraska, goes into producing ethanol which serves only to increase the cost of gasoline while reducing our vehicles’ mileages. The powerful farm lobby, coupled with widespread mistaken ideas of the need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, keep requirements of ethanol in our gas in place.

America exported $143 billion in agriculture products in 2018. Worldwide we use 3.83 million acres to feed 7.3 billion people and, in complete contradiction to the doom and gloom forecasts of anti-farm activists, the ratio of food acres to people fed continues to decline.

Agriculture broadcaster, journalist, and rancher Trent Loos travels the country teaching people the wonderful truths about agriculture to combat the lies of the left. He recently completed a 100-day journey across the U.S. lecturing city folks about agriculture. He was met by large crowds happy to learn that farmers continue to be the best environmentalists and stewards of our land.

Loos explains how very sustainable modern American agriculture really is. Yet, its biggest challenges will always be the weather, which can help produce a bumper crop or literally destroy one. It is for that reason the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), established on May 15, 1862, by President Abraham Lincoln, stands ready to help in bad times to keep food prices at reasonable levels. The USDA assists with loans, technical support, and some subsidies. Lincoln was right when, in his final message to Congress, he called USDA “The People’s Department.” Through their work on food, agriculture, economic development, science, natural resource conservation, and other issues, USDA has impacted the lives of generations of Americans.

But things are changing, and not for the better. As usual, bureaucrats in Washington D.C. persist in writing unnecessary and restrictive regulations like the one that says if there is a puddle on a farm that could overflow into a navigable waterway, the Environmental Protection Agency has jurisdiction over that land.

Trent Loos will be a guest on our show, The Other Side of the Story airing Saturday and Sunday, December 4 and 5, at both 11 am and 8 pm EST. He believes that the greatest challenge to agriculture today is that individuals who never get their hands dirty define sustainability from a cubicle in D.C. with a pen and paper.

These agriculture bureaucrats have no clue that a farmer must not only grow his crops regardless of weather, but they have to market it in a floating arena of prices, futures, puts, and calls, understanding at all times when, as the song The Gambler goes, they should “hold them, fold them or walk away.” It is remarkable that, with all the variables the American farmer must juggle to stay in business, they have been able to maintain our cost of food in the range of 10% of the average American family’s budget. Biden’s new WOTUS rule just makes life harder for these wonderful people and so must be rejected.

Note: The EPA writes on its website: “The agencies are taking comment on this proposed rule for 60 days beginning on the date it is published in the Federal Register. For more information on submitting a written comment on the proposal or to register for the virtual public hearings on the proposed rule, see www.epa.gov/wotus.”

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Dr. Jay Lehr is a Senior Policy Analyst with the International Climate Science Coalition and former Science Director of The Heartland Institute. He is an internationally renowned scientist, author, and speaker who has testified before Congress on dozens of occasions on environmental issues and consulted with nearly every agency of the national government and many foreign countries. After graduating from Princeton University at the age of 20 with a degree in Geological Engineering, he received the nation’s first Ph.D. in Groundwater Hydrology from the University of Arizona. He later became executive director of the National Association of Groundwater Scientists and Engineers.

Tom Harris is Executive Director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition, and a policy advisor to The Heartland Institute. He has 40 years experience as a mechanical engineer/project manager, science and technology communications professional, technical trainer, and S&T advisor to a former Opposition Senior Environment Critic in Canada’s Parliament.

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