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Senators work to exempt farmers from waste reporting rules

Photo Courtesy of Gage Skidmore


An Iowa senator co-sponsors a bill designed to provide American farmers relief from overreaching animal waste reporting requirements.

Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) joined eight Republican and Democratic senators in introducing the Fair Agricultural Reporting Method (FARM) Act. The bill aims to protect farmers, ranchers and livestock markets from burdensome Environmental Protection Agency reporting requirements for animal waste emissions. Senator Ernst says Agency officials need to understand livestock farmers and ranchers already abide by a great amount of regulations.

“Our livestock operations are being held at a very, very high level of regulation that almost equates to a super waste facility you might find in other states with regards to extremely hazardous wastes,” Senator Ernst said.

Ernst adds the FARM Act would ensure livestock waste regulations are more appropriate.

“What has happened in the past is a number of federal agencies, regulating these livestock facilities, don’t have measurements that make sense or can be measured. If the EPA doesn’t know how to measure emissions, how are those farmers suppose know to how to measure those emissions and how they’ll be penalized,” Ernst asked.

Ernst believes the FARM Act is “smart legislation for livestock producers” which aims to eliminate burdening and unnecessary government overreach.

“We feel that it will be beneficial not only to safeguarding our waters, but also making sure we’re doing the right thing for livestock producers,” Ernst said.

Senators must receive Congressional approval and President Trump’s signature by May 1, 2018.

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals delayed reporting requirements outlined in the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) until then. CERCLA and EPCRA require farms to report hazardous substances exceeding a reportable quantity within a 24-hour period.