EPA is a threat to farmers

In the May 22 issue of the Times-Republican in a letter to the editor, John Halverson criticized my comments regarding keeping the Environmental Protection Agency off of farmers’ backs. Mr. Halverson clearly does not understand the threat that the draconian bureaucracy, known as the EPA, represents to not only farmers, but to all freedom-loving members of our nation.

Mr. Halverson offers his criticism using the common rhetorical trick of limiting choices in this case that farmers must either accept the EPA “on our collective back” or else farmers must want our waters to be “poisoned.” That’s absurd and disrespectful to Iowa’s farmers. Farmers want to continue to improve our water quality while at the same time avoiding the bureaucracy the EPA is famous for.

Mr. Halverson also imputes that I am not “truly a steward of the land.” As a farmer that owns a Heritage Farm (150+ years in the same family), I find the assertion that I and other farmers are not good stewards of the land to be highly offensive. For some reason it has become popular in certain circles to criticize farmers as poor stewards simply because we don’t want a federal agency dictating to us how we are to operate our farms. Nothing could be further from the truth. The drive by farmers to embrace the Nutrient Reduction Strategy as an Iowa initiative and see that it is properly funded is proof that Mr. Halverson doesn’t understand Iowa farmers.

The EPA has already imposed its bureaucratic control of nutrient management in the six states of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, leading to absurd regulations that are counterproductive. For example, farmers that have already implemented nutrient reduction methods at their own expense are not given credit for these improvements by the EPA in their computer models of the watershed.

Furthermore, if a farmer implements two nutrient reduction strategies on his fields, such as both no-till practice and a fall cover crop, the EPA only gives credit for one of these two practices in its computer model even though both practices add to the nutrient reduction. As a result of such bungling by the EPA, millions of dollars will be spent by those farmers on nutrient management efforts solely to please a computer model that is flawed from the start. Iowa is simply being smart to avoid that kind of heavy-handed bureaucracy by seeking to manage its own efforts.