Working for six years in the agricultural sector taught me the stability and vitality our farms and farmers bring our community and state. As your representative and chair of the Ohio Senate Committee on Agriculture, I have been committed to maintaining that stability as well as working to create an environment for our agricultural sectors to flourish.
Under the Obama Administration, however, our agricultural industry was encumbered by costly regulations that served no purpose other than executive overreach. For an industry that is so critical to our nation, they were being served regulation after regulation with many farmers finding it difficult to keep up. The purpose of our government should not be to burden Americans, but to give them the best opportunity to thrive and succeed.
I am pleased to see that many of these regulations under the Trump Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are being rolled back. We are taking the power out of Washington and giving it back to the men and women of rural America. In my opinion, the proper role of government is to be as unobtrusive as possible. The Trump Administration recognizes this and has taken steps to give the power back to the people.
For example, during the last few days of President Obama’s term, he banned chlorpyrifos — the most widely used insecticide in the United States. This critical tool is effective in treating a number of insect pests in only a single application. A ban on this product could wipe out the crops of farmers all over, not only Ohio, but the entire country. The Trump EPA has reversed this decision and is taking the time to do a proper investigation, instead of banning it with minimal support.
Additionally, in 2015 the Obama EPA enacted the Waters of the United States Rule (WOTUS), a vast and vicious overreach of executive power. Through WOTUS, the federal government could claim jurisdiction of just about any water on your property. In his first few months in office President Trump signed an order to repeal WOTUS and just a few days ago, the EPA has delayed any implementation of the rule for another two years. This is a major win for anyone who believes in the power of limited government and that issues such as this are best handled by the states.
I’m extremely proud of the collaborative efforts of Ohio farmers and business leaders in tackling environmental issues, especially water quality. The Ohio Farm Bureau Water Quality Action Plan was ahead of their time in recognizing the potential of these partnerships between farmers, businesses, universities and federal, state and local agencies. Over 15,000 Ohio farmers have been fertilizer certified and, since 1993, 80 percent of Ohio counties have seen a downward trend in their agricultural soil phosphorus levels. Most importantly, we did this without federal regulations and red tape. This is Ohio ingenuity.
While I could continue on with more examples of regulatory overreach, I think my message is clear: I’d like to thank the Trump Administration and EPA for standing up for the American farmer when they’ve been neglected for so many years.
State Sen. Bob Hackett represents the 10th District in the Ohio Senate, which encompasses all of Clark, Greene and Madison counties. He can reach at Hackett@OhioSenate.gov or by calling his office at 614-466-3780.
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