EPA Building

Farmers have been hit from all sides lately, from skyrocketing input and fuel costs to supply chain challenges. Throw in several U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations and rules and the hits keep on coming.

The Enlist herbicides ban, another rewrite of the Waters of the U.S rule and a plea to keep bolstering the Renewable Fuels Standard are on the minds of farmers across the country. Farm Bureau has joined in the conversation with policymakers and the Biden administration to make sure the agency has all of the information needed when new ideas that may have an impact on farmers across the country are introduced.

Enlist herbicides

In response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recent decision to prohibit the use of Enlist Duo and Enlist One herbicides in certain Ohio counties, Farm Bureau lead an effort, along with the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers and the Ohio Soybean Association, to write a letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan to voice their concerns about the new policy.

“You have a tool for farmers that was essentially taken away with no time to react to it,” said Brandon Kern, senior director of state and national policy at Ohio Farm Bureau. “Literally overnight the rules changed for that group of farmers in those Ohio counties.”

Twelve counties in Ohio are on the banned use list: Athens, Butler, Fairfield, Guernsey, Hamilton, Hocking, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Vinton and Washington, impacting nearly 270,000 acres across the state. Update: The ban has since been lifted.

The ag groups went on record with U.S. EPA Administrator Michael Regan by outlining in a letter agriculture’s concerns with the process and the result regarding the Enlist bans.
The Ohio congressional delegation and American Farm Bureau have been working together on the issue as well, as it affects counties across the country. That collaboration netted an audience with Rod Snyder, U.S. EPA’s senior ag advisor for Administrator Regan.

Discussions centered around the shortcomings of the process and the need to work with producer organizations to look at processes in the future.

The American burying beetle has triggered the ban in Ohio. Corteva, the parent company of Enlist, has turned over new data to the U.S. EPA which may end up being beneficial to farmers.

“We’re hopeful this additional scientific data about the impact on that species provides that mitigating standard for EPA to be able to remove these county bans,” Kern said. “It’s encouraging that they received and acknowledged that information.”

WOTUS rules

In February, Ohio Farm Bureau submitted comments to the U.S. EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding the agencies’ proposed rewrite of the WOTUS rule. The changes would significantly expand the land mass regulated by the federal government and would lead to costly and complex permitting requirements that small businesses and farmers aren’t equipped to navigate.

The letter emphasized Ohio Farm Bureau and its members’ disappointment about the agencies’ proposed rule, and reminded how the current Navigable Waters Protection Rule, along with state-led efforts, was clearly protecting Ohio’s lakes, rivers and streams.

Renewable Fuel Standard

Ohio Farm Bureau recently provided comments concerning the U.S. EPA’s proposed rule regarding proposed Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) for 2021 and 2022, as well as EPA’s proposal to retroactively adjust the already-finalized RVO for 2020.

The letter pointed out how renewable fuels have been a tremendous success story for the country and the rural economy and how the Renewable Fuel Standard has reduced the country’s dependence on foreign crude oil, reduced air pollution, increased farm incomes and provided good-paying jobs in rural America.

Kern noted that more than 30% of the corn grown in Ohio is used to produce ethanol. Kern and Ryan Yates, managing director of public policy American Farm Bureau, spoke about all these U.S. EPA challenges impacting farmers in depth on a recent Our Ohio Weekly.

Having opportunities to attend leadership institutes, advocate for rural Ohioans on the state and national level, facilitate young ag professionals events, and serve in a variety of leadership positions have helped my skills grow exponentially.
Sara Tallmadge's avatar
Sara Tallmadge

Ashland County Farm Bureau

Growing our Generation
Labor has always been an issue, mainly because we are a seasonal operation. So that's a challenge finding somebody who only wants to work three months out of a year, sometimes up to six months.
Mandy Way's avatar
Mandy Way

Way Farms

Business Solutions
If it wasn't for Farm Bureau, I personally, along with many others, would not have had the opportunity to meet with our representatives face to face in Washington.
Austin Heil's avatar
Austin Heil

Hardin County Farm Bureau

Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
I was gifted the great opportunity through an Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation Youth Pathways grant to run a series of summer camps here. That really expanded my vision of what ‘grow, maintain, sustain and explain’ could actually be.
Jim Bruner's avatar
Jim Bruner

Mezzacello Urban Farms

Farming for Good
I see the value and need to be engaged in the community I live in, to be a part of the decision-making process and to volunteer with organizations that help make our community better.
Matt Aultman's avatar
Matt Aultman

Darke County Farm Bureau

Leadership development
So many of the issues that OFBF and its members are advocating for are important to all Ohioans. I look at OFBF as an agricultural watchdog advocating for farmers and rural communities across Ohio.
Mary Smallsreed's avatar
Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

Advocacy
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