When President Trump entered the office earlier this year, regulatory burdens was a top concern for U.S. producers. His 2-for-1 regulatory rollback (eliminating two regulations for every one proposed) he announced early on in his term and actions on top-of-mind concerns such as WOTUS are getting high marks.
In our August survey, 86% of those who responded said Trump’s actions to reduce regulation are good for their farm. And it appears the administration isn’t slowing down.
This administration’s rolled back another two regulations being watched carefully this week.
The first was with Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue’s decision to withdraw its proposed revisions to regulations governing agricultural biotechnology. How the agency proceeds will pave the way for approvals of new technologies such as gene editing and other future technologies.
“It’s critical that our regulatory requirements foster public confidence and empower American agriculture while also providing industry with an efficient and transparent review process that doesn’t restrict innovation,” said Perdue. “To ensure we effectively balance the two, we need to take a fresh look, explore policy alternatives, and continue the dialogue with all interested stakeholders, both domestic and international.”
Agricultural groups said it is encouraging to see that the Agency is listening to ag industry stakeholders to provide an efficient and transparent review process that doesn’t restrict innovation.
“The intent he has expressed in regard to working with stakeholders is heartening, and we look forward to collaborating with him to ensure that our nation's system regulating all agricultural technologies facilitates both the current and future needs of innovations important to families both on and off the farm," said National Corn Growers Association President and North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes.
The American Seed Trade Association said it will be important for the administration to move forward without delay in soliciting feedback while actively engaging in the ongoing dialogue at the global level.
ASTA President & CEO Andrew W. LaVigne said, “Public and private sector plant-scientists around the world are investing in a great deal of research using newer methods like gene editing across a wide variety of crops—with exciting potential for farmers, consumers and the environment. However, in order for these benefits to be fully realized, and widely adopted across breeding programs of all sizes and sectors, developers need clear, science-based, policy direction.”
The Trump administration again decided to delay the effective date of the final rule on organic livestock and poultry practices that was published in the final hours of the Obama administration. The first delay came in February 2017, followed by another delay in May. The latest slowdown has the agency evaluating the rule until May 14, 2018.
“The organic livestock rule goes far beyond the scope of the National Organic Program, threatening animal health and food safety, and jeopardizing the livelihoods of numerous farmers and ranchers. While I believe withdrawing this costly and unworkable regulation is the best way to provide certainty to livestock and poultry producers across the nation, I do appreciate that Sec. Perdue and his team are taking extra time to evaluate the full implications of the rule. I am hopeful the Trump administration’s commitment to regulatory reform will result in the continued roll-back of burdensome regulations like this one,” said House Agriculture Committee chairman Michael Conaway (R-Texas).
Although larger organic interests such as the Organic Trade Association (OTA) supported the initial rule release, many commodity groups such as the National Pork Producers Council, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and even larger organic businesses voiced opposition about the stipulations and costly regulations without none animal welfare benefits.
The OTA said it will continue to fight to have the rule implemented. In September, OTA filed a lawsuit against USDA seeking judicial review of the Trump Administration’s delay of the productions rule. The lawsuit is pending and the USDA must answer it by mid-November.