As production agriculture continues its ongoing battle with Mother Nature, while striving to meet the demand for food from a growing population not only here at home, but around the world, producers look to the future with uncertainty because of political discussions that could impede production as we know it today. Joe Brown has more in this week’s From The Ground Up.
"I am worried about how we’re going to be treated as a cow/calf operation as we know it today."
Ed Small is a water rights attorney and represents several ag groups.
"The very first bill I worked on almost 40 years ago, was a bill that a senator had that said you cannot graze a cow within 200 feet of a stream, and they’re talking about it again today."
Small says he’s afraid that as pollution is found in more creeks and streams cattle will be pointed to as the primary cause.
"Some say, just fence off the creek, put a buffer zone and don’t let the cow down there, and I say, well, that’s where the best grass grows, we gotta let ‘em down there."
"We’ll have more septic tanks out there because of people moving out to the country being your neighbors out there, and that’ll be a problem."
Bill Thomas is president of the State Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and says there’s a move afoot to change the language of the 1972 Clean Water Act.
"It said that the corps of engineers, the EPA, would have jurisdiction over navigable waters of the United States, and that’s the way it’s been for 30 years, which would be like your Mississippi River, the Great Lakes."
Pollution issues around the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay area have some federal legislators proposing to take “navigable” out of the statute.
"If you take that word navigable out, the waters of the United States could be in anybody’s back yard. It could be a cow tank in your pasture, it could be a creek that flows through your back 60 acres. That means the Corps of Engineers have jurisdiction over your private property."
Regulations are created to solve problems. The disagreement comes when deciding exactly what the problem is. I’m Joe Brown, looking at Brazos Valley Agriculture, From The Ground Up.