Draft ‘Waters of the U.S.” Guidance Comments due July 31

—Deadline extended to July 31; Grassroots comments encouraged

 Grassroots comments are being sought by July 31 regarding the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) proposed draft guidance expanding EPA’s Clean Water Act (CWA) regulatory authority.

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, this new guidance provides agency field staff with an expanded menu of options to establish federal jurisdiction and control of any given water body on private land.  As a result, Farm Bureau members will be subject to federal enforcement and onerous permitting requirements that will require a substantial expenditure of time and money.  Even where jurisdiction is in question, the federal agencies have shifted the burden to landowners and permit applicants to establish that jurisdiction is not appropriate.

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Comments sought on federal guidance related to Agricultural Transportation

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is requesting public comments on Regulatory Guidance: Applicability of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations to Operators of Certain Farm Vehicles and Off-Road Agricultural Equipment.  Comments are due to the agency on June 30, 2011.

No one cares more about the safety of farm and ranch vehicles and machinery than farmers and ranchers.  Our families and friends share the rural roads that are most used for agricultural transportation.  We gladly shoulder our responsibility to keep our vehicles and machinery in safe working order to protect our loved ones, our communities and ourselves.

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Help needed for Arizona ranchers affected by fires

–Looking for pasture availability

The record breaking forest fire in the state of Arizona has ranchers seeking pasture availability.  According to Arizona Farm Bureau President Kevin Rogers, the fire in the Northeast section of the state has charred over 500,000 acres as of June 23.  Rogers says that fire along with three other fires going are taking a toll on the ranching community.

“Ranchers in these areas have asked me to contact your state for some help,” Rogers said.  “If ranchers in your state have any pasture available please contact our office.  We will serve as a clearing house of opportunity for our burned out ranchers to contact and negotiate for pasture this summer and possibly into 2012.”

If you have pasture available, please contact Liz Foster at the Arizona Farm Bureau.  Her email is [email protected] and phone is 480.635.3611.

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Lucas Highlights Ag Committee’s Efforts on Behalf of America’s Farmers and Ranchers

WASHINGTON, June 23, 2011 – Today, the House Agriculture Committee approved its activity report for the first quarter of the 112th Congress as required by House Rule XI, clause d(1). During the business meeting, Chairman Frank Lucas highlighted the committee’s efforts on behalf of America’s farmers, ranchers, and rural constituents. Some of the highlights include the committee approving two key pieces of legislation to improve economic growth, fulfilling its oversight responsibility with numerous hearings, and preparing for the important task of writing the next farm bill.

Read more for the full text of Chairman Lucas’s opening statement.

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The impact of regulations on industry

$1.187 trillion dollars=the estimated cost of regulations in 2010.  “This dollar amount is 8.3 percent of our nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” Attorney Kara Brighton told members of the Wyoming Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher Committee.  “It takes 34 days past Tax Freedom Day to pay for regulations, so you spend more than half the year working for taxes and regulatory costs.”

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“Ag Books for Kids” 2011 contest winners – June 2, 2011

Students from across Wyoming learned more about agriculture and were recently recognized for their participation in the 2011 Wyoming Farm Bureau (WyFB) “Ag Books for Kids” contests.  The 2011 contests included:  Coloring Contest for kindergarten and first grade; Poster Contest for second and third graders; and a Book Report Contest for fourth and fifth graders.

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Wyoming Farm Bureau awards nine college scholarships

LaramieThe Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation recently awarded nine college scholarships to the children of Farm Bureau members.

“Providing opportunities for our members’ children to receive a college education is what the Farm Bureau scholarship program is about,” Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation President Perry Livingston said.  “$5,500 is awarded at the state level.  Add that to county Farm Bureau scholarships around the state and roughly $20,000 is awarded each year to children of Farm Bureau members in Wyoming.  We are proud to support our youth.”

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Legislative redistricting public hearings set

Every 10 years the state of Wyoming is required to redraw state legislative districts.  The Joint Corporations Legislative Committee is responsible for developing redistricting plans to present to the legislature for consideration.  The committee has scheduled public hearings throughout the state from May-July.  Read more for hearing schedule.

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“Today’s Agriculture, Feeding the World” Forum April 26 in Laramie – April 19, 2011

–Free event open to public

Laramie—A global perspective on the impact of technology on agriculture will be discussed at the April 26 “Today’s Agriculture, Feeding the World” Forum held at the University of Wyoming Classroom Building, Room 302 in Laramie.  Dr. Gary Sides, with Pfizer Animal Health,presents a very entertaining, science based and global view of how we use technology to feed the world.  Dr. Sides will speak from 3-4 p.m. followed by questions and refreshments.  The forum is open to the public.

“Dr. Sides presents great information with scientific facts to back it up,” Sharleen Castle, Albany County Farm Bureau member and event organizer, said.  “This presentation is relevant to all people including those who produce the food we eat and those who eat the food agriculture produces.”

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Wyoming Farm Bureau Statement regarding congressional language to uphold Judge Johnson’s wolf decision – April 13, 2011

“Judge Johnson’s November 2010 ruling showed science should still matter when making decisions,” Ken Hamilton, Wyoming Farm Bureau executive vice president, said. “We are pleased congressional language was included to ensure that this ruling could not be wrongfully attacked.”

In a news release U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) stated:  “Upholding Judge Johnson’s ruling is crucial to advancing negotiations on a common sense wolf management plan. This language removes obstacles that would have otherwise hindered discussions on the status of the fully recovered gray wolf in Wyoming. Returning management of the gray wolf to the State of Wyoming is the ultimate goal.  Much work remains, but with this provision intact, I am confident we are closer than ever to realizing a full delisting.  I look forward to that happy day.”

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