Farm Bill Draft Includes Regulatory Reform

The House Agriculture Committee’s farm bill draft, in addition to expanding several farm subsidy programs and cutting food stamp funding, contains several reforms to existing regulatory programs, reforms that some farmers say will significantly reduce regulatory red tape.

For the past several years, farmers and agricultural producers have fought with environmental regulatory organizations like the Environmental Protection Agency over the federal government’s increasing interest in ecological stewardship and conservation. The most prominent of these battles has been the ongoing effort to clean up the Chesapeake Bay and efforts in Congress to prevent the EPA from regulating dust pollution.

Included in the House farm bill draft is a subsection in the bill’s Horticultural Title called the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act. This section of the farm bill would significantly reduce the power of several regulatory agencies. For example, it would eliminate the permit requirement for certain pesticide applications, it would limit the EPA’s power to modify or cancel pesticide registration, and it would limit the power of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Secretary of Agriculture from regulating biotech products.

While many representatives are pleased at the regulatory streamlining, others worry that removing regulatory power could damage the environment, leading to serious economic problems down the road.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer