Encouraging continued bipartisan negotiations on meaningful regulatory reform legislation, the American Farm Bureau Federation and 47 other agricultural organizations again pledged their readiness to work with lawmakers on much-needed improvements to the rulemaking process.       

 In a letter to Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Ranking Member Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), the groups reiterated key principles for crafting a regulatory reform measure: greater transparency, the use of sound science, greater sensitivity to costs and benefits, strengthened federalism with state partners, a stronger  public right to know, and accountability for agencies’ use of economic and scientific data.

We did not pluck these principles out of thin air. They are reflected in Executive Orders going back decades, from Democratic and Republican presidents. We believe that everyone – farmers, ranchers, environmentalists, scientists, regulators, elected lawmakers, journalists – should be able to rely on the integrity of the rulemaking process.
—  AFBF and 47 other agricultural organizations

Too often that process falls short, leaving those most affected by the regulation in the dark, from proposal to implementation.

“When an agency spends months or years working on a proposal, it should provide affected stakeholders – and its co-regulators in the states – sufficient time to examine, evaluate and respond to its proposal,” they said.

And when a rule has an impact that runs deep and wide, like EPA’s Waters of the U.S. rule, the agency must do its utmost to let stakeholders know how greatly they will be affected, according to the groups. The agency’s energy should not be directed toward lobbying the public through social media in favor of its own proposal, which EPA did with WOTUS.

The agricultural organizations also took issue with recent correspondence urging the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to oppose H.R. 5, a regulatory reform bill strongly supported by farmers and ranchers. The groups opposing H.R. 5 said it would jeopardize the safety of the U.S. food supply.

Unlike the groups that sent the opposition letter, the people and entities represented by AFBF and the other signing agricultural organizations, “have a vital, personal stake in assuring the safety and affordability of the food we put on America’s tables. They care about what they produce, what they sell, and what they and their neighbors eat. They have not encouraged, do not support and would not advocate for legislation or a rulemaking process that betrays what they do for a living,” the agricultural groups asserted.