Hoeven Brings NRCS Acting Chief to North Dakota, Working to Resolve Delays & Uncertainty in Wetland Determinations
Senator Secured Provisions in 2014 Farm Bill to Ease Wetland Compliance, Continues Efforts to Ensure Fair Treatment of Producers in Upcoming Farm Bill
BISMARCK, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee and a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today hosted the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Acting Chief Leonard Jordan for a roundtable with local agriculture producers, commodity groups and representatives from the drain tile industry. The senator brought the NRCS chief to the state to receive input from local farmers about delays and uncertainty in the agency’s wetland determinations process, which undermine producers’ ability to manage water on their land.
“Today’s meeting is about building on the wetland compliance relief we secured in the last farm bill and creating a workable guideline for NRCS’ wetlands determinations,” said Hoeven. “That means having policies in place that treat farmers and ranchers fairly and ensure NRCS can provide timely, objective decisions based on the best historical data for the region. This kind of approach will provide certainty for agriculture producers, helping them to plan and make long-term investments in their land and operations, while maintaining good environmental stewardship.”
The roundtable comes as part of Hoeven’s effort to promote a consistent and fair application of the agency’s wetlands rules. As a member of the 2014 farm bill conference committee, Hoeven worked to authorize and secure $9 million in funding for a program to encourage a market-based approach to help farmers comply with wetland mitigation requirements. Further, the legislation included a Hoeven proposal that encourages the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to use an acre-for-acre ratio for wetland mitigation, helping ensure a fair exchange for producers. Hoeven has also secured similar acre-for-acre provisions in the annual agriculture appropriations bills since the farm bill’s passage.
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