From the Ground Up - Regulations Challenge Agriculture's Future

Year in and year out production agriculture deals with challenges from the weather, pests, and diseases, but there’s also another growing threat to agriculture’s future.

Steve Verett is the executive vice-president of Plains Cotton Growers, Inc..

“Farm legislation has always been important, crop insurance, but some of our biggest challenges going forward are going to be regulatory challenges. When they want to try to redefine waters of the U.S., it used to be navigable waters, to a bar ditch, you know, it’s very troubling. That’s the reason why we have to have organizations like Plains cotton growers, South Texas Cotton and Grain, The National Cotton Council, all these organizations, Farm Bureau, that work on this every day because producers have enough on their plate every day.”

Sometimes well-meaning regulations can have unintended negative impacts on agriculture.

“It’s our job to try and make sure that there are reasonable regulations and then for those that are not reasonable that we oppose some. Certainly agriculture benefits from working with our environment, making sure we preserve the soil, the water, everything that we use, because that’s where our livelihood comes from.”

Verett says that ag producers understand that it’s not just about today and that they need to be the ones standing up as representatives for the environment.

“Many farms and ranches have been in the same family for many generations, and that’s what they want to continue, and so certainly you have to make short term decisions for profitability and make sure that you can be here, next year or five years, but you know you have to have that long term outlook as well and sometimes you make some sacrifices on the short term profit because you know that in the long run it’s going to be what you need to do.”