Proposed Animal Feeding Operation Rules Draw Farm State Legislators' Concern

Feb 11, 1999


A group of 36 Republican and Democratic Members of the House of Representatives today sent letters to Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Carol Browner expressing their strong belief that the proposed policies in the USDA/EPA Unified National Strategy for Animal Feeding Operations (The Strategy) would place unnecessarily burdensome and costly regulations on U.S. livestock sectors, currently reeling under unprecedented economic hardship.
"As you know, this nation's livestock, dairy and poultry industries are a critical component of an efficient, safe and affordable food production system for consumers here in the U.S. and around the world," the Members wrote. "U.S. livestock producers have a long history of being stewards of the land by implementing sound conservation and water quality protection practices. They have made substantial investments and taken great strides in protecting the environment."

The Members voiced their concern over a number of provisions in The Strategy including those related to water quality data, comprehensive nutrient management, record keeping, land application, and technical assistance delivery. They urged that the USDA and the EPA use only the best available scientific data available and to work to preserve flexibility in regulating animal feeding operations (AFOs).

"Agricultural producers have seen significant progress over the past decade, through voluntary improvements by AFOs and effective, state-led programs," the Members wrote. "Voluntary and incentive-based programs should be the focus of any workable Strategy. States are presently working to address CAFO issues, and EPA/USDA should give these efforts a chance to work before additional federal regulations are promulgated."

"We stand ready to work with you on these important issues affecting one of the largest U.S. food producing sectors," the Members added.

Chairman Combest represents Texas' 19th Congressional District which includes the Panhandle, South Plains, and Permian Basin.