Washington, D.C. (February 14, 2018)—The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) today praised the introduction of S. 2421, the Fair Agricultural Reporting Method (FARM) Act, by Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.). The legislation clarifies that farmers and ranchers are exempt from reporting requirements for animal waste emissions under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-know Act (EPCRA). The legislation is cosponsored by a bipartisan group of 20 other senators.
“During a time of continued low commodity prices, the last thing any farmer or rancher in this country needs are the added costs that the burdensome reporting requirements under CERCLA and EPCRA will bring,” said Chuck Conner, president and CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives. “We would like to thank Senator Fischer and Senator Donnelly and all of their cosponsors for introducing this legislation and helping to provide producers with certainty moving forward.”
Farmers and ranchers were never intended to be swept up in these CERCLA and EPCRA regulations, which were designed to address the release of dangerous industrial pollutants and hazardous materials. Recognizing this the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a waiver to the regulations for animal agriculture in 2008. In 2017, however, the federal D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the waiver.
“NCFC urges the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to take up the FARM Act at the earliest opportunity,” Conner continued. “Any unnecessary delay risks adding new burdens for farmers across the U.S.”
Since 1929, NCFC has been the voice of America’s farmer cooperatives. Our members are regional and national farmer cooperatives, which are in turn composed of over 2,000 local farmer cooperatives across the country. NCFC members also include 26 state and regional councils of cooperatives. Farmer cooperatives allow individual farmers the ability to own and lead organizations that are essential for continued competitiveness in both the domestic and international markets.
America’s farmer-owned cooperatives provide a comprehensive array of services for their members. These diverse organizations handle, process and market virtually every type of agricultural commodity. They also provide farmers with access to infrastructure necessary to manufacture, distribute and sell a variety of farm inputs. Additionally, they provide credit and related financial services, including export financing.