By 2050, U.S. farmers and ranchers must rise to the challenge of feeding 2 billion more people than we feed today. We are fully ready to meet the task, but we cannot do so under the shackles of excessive, superfluous regulations.
Opinion by Tom Buchanan
Farm Bureau president: Scott Pruitt brings optimism to Oklahoma farmers and ranchers
As farmers and ranchers, we devote our lives to protecting and improving our land and water. Our very livelihood depends on good land and clean water. But for years, we have faced onerous regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency like the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule, which broadly expanded federal jurisdiction over private property. The WOTUS rule gave the EPA authority over ditches, dry creek beds, ponds and even puddles, and created great uncertainty for farmers and ranchers across the country.
Family farmers and ranchers aren’t opposed to environmental regulations, but the federal government cannot interfere with our work to provide the world’s safest, most abundant and most affordable food. That’s exactly what the previous administration’s EPA did.
With the election of President Donald Trump and the nomination of Oklahoma’s own Scott Pruitt as EPA administrator, all of that changed. Farmers and ranchers now have an excitement and optimism not seen in years.
Pruitt is a friend of farmers and ranchers; he understands the incredible responsibility facing modern agriculture. By 2050, U.S. farmers and ranchers must rise to the challenge of feeding 2 billion more people than we feed today. We are fully ready to meet the task, but we cannot do so under the shackles of excessive, superfluous regulations.
Pruitt will restore what’s been missing from the EPA in recent years: the trust of family farmers and ranchers. He will work with us — rather than ignore us — throughout the rulemaking process.
We also trust Pruitt will follow the laws set by Congress. The EPA is charged with implementing rules and regulations within the congressional intent; it must not interpret laws to fulfill its own agenda. We have faith Pruitt will establish common-sense regulations to protect our environment without hindering economic growth.
Recently, a group of Oklahoma Farm Bureau members met with Pruitt at the EPA for the first time in history — and left smiling. It’s a new day in Washington, D.C., when farmers and ranchers can visit the EPA and leave happy. As family farmers and ranchers, we look forward to working with Pruitt to ensure a vibrant future for our country through a clean environment, a secure food supply and a prosperous economy.
Buchanan, a farmer and rancher from Altus, is president of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau.