Thursday, August 14, 2014
One more opportunity to learn-
Illinois Farm Bureau’s five-day “waters of the U.S.," also known as WOTUS, roadshow ended Friday, but there’s at least one more chance to learn about the proposed rule.
Jefferson and Franklin County Farm Bureaus will host a meeting at 6 p.m. Aug. 20 at the Farm Credit Services Building, 210 Potomac Blvd., Mount Vernon. Members in all counties south of Interstate 64 can attend, and should RSVP by Thursday to their local county Farm Bureau.
Additional meetings may be held, but haven’t been finalized.
Last week, 19 counties participated in eight meetings across the state. At least 500 members attended.
Lauren Lurkins, director of natural and environmental resources, and Adam Nielsen, director of national legislation and policy development, traveled the state, explaining how the proposed rule could affect farmers.
“We have a lot of avenues to get this sort of information out, but nothing beats the face-to-face interaction and answering the questions of our members,” Lurkins said.
IFB opposes the proposed rule, which was introduced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers.
EPA says the proposed rule merely clarifies which bodies of water are federally regulated. IFB says it expands federal jurisdiction beyond what Congress intended.
Linden Warfel, president of Champaign County Farm Bureau, said he appreciated hearing insight from Lurkins and Nielsen. About 50 people attended the Champaign session.
“Farmers being exempt sounds good -- until you know what it takes to qualify as a farmer,” he said. “How many farmers have farmed the same field since 1977? In my 52 seasons as a farmer, I've bought and sold land, and switched farms. I don't have one field today that would qualify me.”
Blake Roderick, manager of Pike and Scott County Farm Bureaus, said nearly 100 people from 10 counties in west-central Illinois attended a session in Pittsfield. They “walked away with the tools needed to get the EPA to ‘Ditch the Rule.’ "
“The session went great,” he said. “I am continually impressed by the knowledge, enthusiasm and passion Adam Nielsen and Lauren Lurkins have with this issue."
“Farmers know how dangerous this proposal is to their lives, livelihoods and private property rights,” he said. “They understand that farming is all about land and water. When EPA gets control of the water, they get control of the land.”
This story was written by FarmWeek writer, Deana Stroisch.
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