• Farmers

    American farmers stand ready to meet the needs of the growing population and are dedicated to feeding you and your family. Products we use every day come from plants and animals cared for by America’s farmers.

     
  • Families

    Farming is a tradition that has been passed down for generations. Today’s farmers are committed to preserving and enhancing this tradition for generations to come. Farm Bureau is a strong voice because of families who join this organization and come together as a unified voice for agriculture.

     
  • Food

    Minnesota farmers ensure safe food choices for families. As farmers, our job is to provide consumers with the highest quality and healthiest food possible. Growing and raising wholesome, safe food is our goal.

     

Welcome to the Minnesota Farm Bureau

 

Farm Bureau is an organization guided and directed by our nearly 30,000 member families – teachers, farmers, community leaders, husbands, wives, parents and business owners. Each one is concerned about their children, families, communities and making Minnesota a great place to live and work.

 

We exist to serve members because we share the values they hold dear – hard work, love of community, passion for the land and belief rooted in faith and family. Our services, programs and benefits are rooted in the cause, concerns and needs that are important to our members based on their beliefs and values.

 

To learn more about Farm Bureau, click here.

 

Latest News

 

Minnesota Farm Bureau
Minnesota Farm Bureau
Thursday, March 19, 2015

AFBF Says WOTUS Rule would Disregard Exemptions

The proposed Waters of the U.S. Rule, “unless dramatically altered,” will result in potential Clean Water Act liability and federal permit requirements for a tremendous number of commonplace and essential farming, ranching and forestry practices nationwide, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

In testimony today, AFBF General Counsel Ellen Steen told a House Agriculture subcommittee that the WOTUS rule will create enormous uncertainty and vulnerability for farmers and ranchers nationwide.

“It is impossible to know how many farmers, ranchers and forest landowners will be visited by [EPA] enforcement staff or will be sued by citizen plaintiffs’ lawyers—and it is impossible to know when those inspections and lawsuits will happen,” Steen said. “But what is certain is that a vast number of common, responsible farming, ranching and forestry practices that occur today without the need for a federal permit would be highly vulnerable to Clean Water Act enforcement under this rule.”

According to AFBF’s general counsel, several statutory exemptions demonstrate a clear determination by Congress not to impose Clean Water Act regulation on ordinary farming and ranching activities. However, agency and judicial interpretations over the past several decades have significantly limited the agricultural exemptions that have traditionally insulated farming and ranching from Clean Water Act permit requirements.

“Much of the remaining benefit of those exemptions would be eliminated by an expansive interpretation of ‘waters of the United States’ to cover ditches and drainage paths that run across and nearby farm and pasture lands,” Steen testified. “The result would be wide-scale litigation risk and potential Clean Water Act liability for innumerable routine farming and ranching activities that occur today without the need for cumbersome and costly Clean Water Act permits.”

Steen explained that because ditches and ephemeral drainages are ubiquitous on farm and ranch lands—running alongside and even within farm fields and pastures—“the proposed rule will make it impossible for many farmers to apply fertilizer or crop protection products to those fields without triggering Clean Water Act ‘pollutant’ discharge liability and permit requirements.”

“A Clean Water Act pollutant discharge to waters of the U.S. arguably would occur each time even a molecule of fertilizer or pesticide falls into a jurisdictional ditch, ephemeral drainage or low spot -- even if the feature is dry at the time of the purported ‘discharge,’” Steen told the subcommittee. For this reason, farmers’ options under the rule are limited.

According to Steen, “they can either continue farming, but under a cloud of uncertainty and risk, they can take on the complexity, cost and equal uncertainty of Clean Water Act permitting or they can try to avoid doing anything near ditches, small wetlands, or stormwater drainage paths on their lands. It’s a no-win situation for farmers and ranchers.”

 

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