IFB leaders meet with EPA, Corps

Meetings highlight examples of how Illinois farmers voluntarily help the environment.

By Deana Stroisch

Illinois Farm Bureau leaders met recently with officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers to share steps Illinois farmers voluntarily take to improve the environment.

In separate meetings, farmer leaders met with Cathy Stepp, the new administrator for EPA Region 5, and Col. Craig Baumgartner, Corps’ Rock Island district commander, and several of his staff. Stepp, appointed in December, oversees environmental protection efforts in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.

“We had a great opportunity in both meetings to explain who Illinois Farm Bureau is, the board’s priorities and the proactive work Illinois farmers do every day to benefit the environment,” said David Serven, IFB District 8 director and chairman of IFB’s National Affairs and Marketing Committee.Waterways 8_1502 (1)

Serven joined IFB Vice President Brian Duncan; Lauren Lurkins, IFB’s director of natural and environmental resources; and Adam Nielsen, IFB’s director of national legislation and policy development.

“It was great to provide the new Region 5 administrator with evidence of how we have been proactive over the years on the issues of nutrient loss and livestock that are important to her and her organization,” Duncan said.

Meanwhile, Farm Bureau continues to advocate for clarity and consistency across federal agencies. 

Leaders shared the story of an Ogle County farmer, who received the green light from the Natural Resources Conservation Service to implement soil conservation practices. A few months after installing the grassed waterways, staff from EPA and the Corps visited his family’s farm and alleged he violated the Clean Water Act because he didn’t obtain the necessary Section 404 permit.

“From a farmer perspective, it’s hard to have three federal agencies telling you something different,” Duncan said. “Farmers have private property rights, and the things we’re putting in the ground benefit the environment. We want these agencies to start working together.”

Content for this story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.

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