New EPA ag liaison chosen

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has chosen a Colorado state agriculture official to advise the agency on farm policy.  Ron Carleton, deputy commissioner for the Colorado Ag Department since 2012, will serve as the EPA liaison to farmers and ranchers. Carleton has an extensive background on Capitol Hill handling agriculture, environment, and related issues.  He spent… Read more »

When is manure a pollutant?

The Wisconsin State Supreme Court has ruled that while manure is a nutrient when it is applied to farm fields, it becomes a pollutant when it runs into a well. In 2011, Robert and Jane Falk of West Bend spread manure from their 600-cow dairy on their fields in compliance with their approved nutrient management… Read more »

Group against hog operation appeals

A group fighting the establishment of a 10-thousand head hog farm in central Missouri has filed an appeal. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources granted an operating permit to Callaway Farrowing LLC in November. The Friends of Responsible Agriculture (FORAG) has outlined concerns in its appeal to the Missouri Administrative Hearing Commission about health and… Read more »

CSP comment period extended

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is extending the public comment period on the Conservation Stewardship Program interim rule. Public comments will now be accepted through January 20, 2015. There are a number of statutory changes made to the CSP by the 2014 Farm Bill. Among the proposed changes in the Interim Rule.  A… Read more »

A.G. upholds Wisconsin land ownership rule

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has issued an opinion upholding the state’s restrictions on foreign ownership of agricultural land. Non-resident aliens cannot own more than 640 acres in the Badger State. Van Hollen issued the opinion at the request of State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos following an attempt by Governor Walker to repeal the… Read more »

EPA announces coal ash standards

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced the first national regulations for the safe disposal of coal ash from power plants. The ash is categorized as a “nonhazardous waste”.  It does mean coal ash cannot be disposed in landfills and certain other facilities that do not properly protect groundwater.  EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy says the… Read more »

Wisconsin ag department adds two specialists

To help producers meet growing demand, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is adding two new staff positions to support organic, grazing and specialty crop sectors. Theresa Feiner is a market development specialist and will work with agribusinesses to develop markets for Wisconsin-grown organic and specialty crops. Feiner most recently had… Read more »

Wisconsin couple named to AFBF Young Farmer committee

Tim and Danielle Clark of Beaver Dam have been appointed by the American Farm Bureau Federation to its Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee for the 2015-2017 term beginning in March. National committee members are nominated by their state Farm Bureau. Tim Clark recently completed a three-year term on the Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer and… Read more »

Comments sought on EQIP changes

USDA is seeking public comment on proposed changes to the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). The new rule will be published in Friday’s Federal Register and the comment period will run for 60 days. U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says the changes are intended to simplify the EQIP regulation regarding conservation practice scheduling, payment limitations… Read more »

Omnibus spending bill in the works

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House leadership unveiled a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill which would fund most of the federal government through next September. The bill would fund the Department of Homeland Security through February as Republicans hope to counter the President’s recent executive order on immigration by that time. The bill also: Cuts EPA funding to $8.1 billion,… Read more »