Overreach by the EPA and immigration are sure to top the agenda as Farm Bureau members prepare for serious discussions with members of Congress now in their home districts.
With mid-term elections just around the corner, farmers are taking this prime opportunity to share stories of how regulations like the EPA’s latest Waters of the U.S. rule and immigration reform directly affect their livelihood.
“Congress needs to hear from America’s farmers,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman said. “Environmental over-regulation and unworkable immigration rules are serious threats to American agriculture. We need action sooner than later on both of these issues.”
Thanks to grassroots effort, Farm Bureau members have been spreading the word on the EPA’s Waters of the U.S. rule, which would expand the federal government’s reach to previously unregulated land and expose farmers to fines and penalties for normal farming activities, according to Stallman.
Twelve thousand Farm Bureau members have already submitted comments to the EPA in opposition to the rule. With more than 205,000 comments submitted to the EPA’s public docket, it’s time for Congress to listen up and take action to stop the EPA before it’s too late.
Agricultural labor reform is essential to helping American farms thrive. Farm Bureau recently redoubled its efforts to raise awareness of agriculture’s need for immigration reform by joining with the Partnership for a New American Economy on a new digital ad campaign. Videos, infographics and #IFarmImmigration tweets tell stories of how a broken immigration system is hurting farmers like Bernie Thiel of Texas, who had to destroy some of his crops for two years in a row when he was unable to find the workers he needed to harvest.
“A farmer should never have to destroy a crop due to the lack of an adequate labor force,” Stallman said. “If that situation doesn’t illustrate the clear need for agricultural labor reform, I’m not sure what will.”