Sam Graves-Thanking Farmers is About More than Just Words
National Thank a Farmer Week is an opportunity for all of us to reflect on the incredible work that farm families across this country do to keep us fed. That “thank you” should also come with action. We’ve got to have their backs.
That means we need to be working to help farmers succeed, fix the supply chain problems that have sent seed and fertilizer prices through the roof, lower diesel fuel costs, and get the government out of the way so farmers can do what they do best—grow the food that feeds the world.
Right now, one of the biggest regulatory challenges on farmers' minds is the Biden Administration's new waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. I say new, but they came way too close for comfort to just dusting off the old Obama WOTUS rule and slapping some new paint on it. It's another attempt to weaponize the Clean Water Act against farmers, families, and small business owners. It's wrong.
The Clean Water Act was meant to stop polluters from dumping chemicals into our rivers, but the Biden EPA wants to rewrite the rules so they can stop farmers from plowing fields and building ponds to ensure our livestock have water. It's absolutely ridiculous. Now, some on the left will tell you that there are exemptions in the rule for farmers, but that's misguided at best, if not downright dishonest.
Sure, the new rule has an exemption to allow farmers to continue "normal farming practices" without having to get a permit or pay an outrageous mitigation fee, but that "exemption" is a joke. Farmers have been sued for planting cow pastures with wheat and building ponds for livestock. Now, I don't know what world these EPA bureaucrats are living in, but to me and pretty much every farmer I know, those are normal farming activities.
These aren't just petty fines the government is threatening farmers with, they can quickly add up to millions of dollars. There's even a threat of jail time. That's a long way from the original intent of the Clean Water Act. I can't imagine anyone thought they were voting to put farmers in jail for plowing fields.
That's why this week I led the House of Representatives in passing my legislation to reverse President Biden's flawed WOTUS rule in a bipartisan vote. This isn't a Republican or Democratic issue. Farmers feed this country and we have to stand up for farm families. We should offer them our thanks—and we should back up those words of thanks with real actions to defend American agriculture. That's what I've always done and that's what I'm going to keep on doing.
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