(Jamie) Welcome back to Farm Factor and the Kansas Soybean Update.
(Greg) This is the Kansas Soybean Update. It’s brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission. The Soybean Checkoff, Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers. Richard Wilkins serves as President-Elect of the American Soybean Association. He is a Greenwood, Delaware, soybean farmer and Richard the continuing efforts by ASA have been ongoing concerning the EPA’s Waters of the United States rule and the hope to eliminate that rule. (Richard) We did our due diligence in looking at the initial Clean Water Rule that was published for comments. We reviewed it. We didn’t think that it was a well written rule. We had meetings with officials at the EPA to try to explain to them what the holes were in it that we saw. We asked them not to proceed forward, to go back to the drawing board and rewrite it and recraft it to find a more workable solution. In the Chesapeake Bay Watershed where I farm at, I’ve been dealing with these water quality issues for over 30 years now and you know what we had in place initially was a voluntary program, whereby we educated growers, we encouraged growers to adopt Best Management Practices. And the trend line was showing that our waters were improving there. But that wasn’t satisfactory for the EPA administration office there. They withheld cost share funds. We were using these cost share funds to help incentivize growers to be able to make changes and adopt better practices. They threatened to withhold those fund from us if we didn’t change to a more mandatory approach. So they forced our hand and we had to do that. American Soybean Association, we met with EPA Administrator McCarthy and asked her, publish as an interim final rule, so that you can continue to get feedback, so that you can continue to allow comments. We believe it ultimately rests upon Congress. That’s the body that originally passed the Clean Water Act in the early 1970s. It ultimately rests upon Congress to, if there needs to be changes to that original act, for them to legislate, for them to properly vet, give the stakeholders what those proposed changes would be. Trying to do this by rule we’re finding that in Chesapeake Bay Watershed the farmers that have been practicing good conservation methods that have been willing to cooperate with the the federal agencies are now pulling back. They’re saying, I don’t want those people on my farm. And that’s a shame because all these programs that were working for us are threatened to not exist any longer. (Greg) It is the fear of the over reach of the government? It starts there. Where does it go after that in many aspects? (Richard) That’s the unintended consequences of a mandatory rule. Who can argue that the carrot, the carrot the incentivizing program always works better than beating somebody over the head with a stick. (Greg) That’s Richard Wilkins, who serves as President-Elect of the American Soybean Association. He’s been our guest on the Kansas Soybean Update. It’s brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission. The Soybean Checkoff, Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers. Learn more at kansassoybeans.org. For Kansas Soybeans, I’m Greg Akagi.
(Jamie) Hope you enjoyed this week’s Kansas Soybean Update. Stay tuned after the break as Duane Toews visits with John Butler and Jerry Bohn.