Farmers, surveyors, county officials, state legislators and at least three U.S. Congressmen have shown up at meetings sponsored by Indiana Farm Bureau over an interpretation issue which could potentially change how you farm. Some of these meetings have been held on farms that could have to deal with more regulation if someone doesn't stop the regulators.
Indiana Farm Bureau, Inc., has and is sponsoring a series of meetings around the state concerning the proposed 'Waters of the U.S." rule. The rule is proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency. If it gets its way, it and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will have much broader control over a larger amount of land than has been considered as waters of the U.S. from 1974, when the Clean Water Act was passed, until now.
Indiana Farm Bureau, Inc., still has several meetings on this topic scheduled around the state. If you haven't made one yet, make time to attend one. Contact your local Farm Bureau, Inc., office for dates and times of remaining meetings, and visit the Farm Bureau website for more information.
"We want members to take action," says Don Villwock, president of Indiana Farm Bureau. He has attended several of the local meetings, and intends to explain Farm Bureau's concerns with the rule through editorials and other means in the upcoming weeks.
The rule is currently in a review phase, which means anyone, including you, can make comments, notes Justin Schneider, attorney for IFB. By August 7, more than 200,000 comments had been logged with EPA. That includes comments both for and against the proposal.
"We need you to let them know how this would affect your farm," Schneider says. "You can contact them by email or letter. We're looking for quantity and quality of response in an effort to get them to see our side of the issue."
E-mails work as good as letters, but postcards form an organized campaign where all you do is sign your name don't, he says. "The EPA sees all of those collectively as one response," he adds.