AFR President Reviews Farm Bill Rollout and Demands Clarity with WOTUSThu, 24 Jul 2014 15:47:14 CDT
The head of the American Farmers & Ranchers / Oklahoma Farmers Union says all crop and livestock producers need assistance after multiple years of drought. The US Department of Agriculture has outlined its top priority as livestock disaster assistance being made available for producers who have suffered from drought as well as the devastating blizzards in the northern United States. AFR President Terry Detrick talked with Farm Director Ron Hays about the rollout of the new Farm Bill as well as the 'Waters of the US' proposal. Detrick will appear with Hays on his regular "In the Field" feature Saturday about 6:40 AM KWTV, News9 in Oklahoma City.
Detrick says the government is offering substantial assistance to producers who have dealt with drought and he encourages producers apply as soon as possible.
"October 1 is the beginning of the new fiscal year, there's additional sequestration cuts that kick in October 1," Detrick said. "So whatever they are eligible for now could be cut that 2 percent after October 1.
"There are sizable payments out there that really should help livestock producers that have suffered greatly through these two or three years of drought," he said.
AFR, the National Farmers Union organization and other ag organizations are pushing USDA to implement actual production history adjustment provisions of the Agricultural Act of 2014 in time for the 2015 crop year.
"That's a ten-year average," Detrick said. "Every year one year drops off, a new one (year) comes on and if we go through three year's of crop failure, our average is down and our maximum coverage that we can buy is based on our average production."
AFR is also watching the 'Waters of the US' from the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Army Corps of Engineers. The original law gives the Army Corps of Engineers jurisdiction over all naviable waters like a river that a barge or boat can float down. Detrick says this latest proposal looks to expand the definition of navigable waters and it allows the Army Corps of Engineers to determine EPA's jurisdiction.
"Farmers are not going to sign a blank check," Detrick said. "We're not going to support signing a blank check, if they can't give us some definite definitions."
The public comment period for the 'WOTUS' rule will close on Monday, October 20, 2014. Detrick says agriculture needs to get their comments submitted and make sure this proposal doesn't move forward.
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