Small Business Committee Explores How Federal Regulations Impact America’s Small Farmers
WASHINGTON—Today, Members of the House Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy, and Trade heard from a panel of farmers and experts on how federal regulations affect America’s small farmers.
“The current regulatory environment in the agriculture industry disproportionately burdens small farmers,” said Subcommittee Chairman Rod Blum (R-IA). “With many regulations taking a one-size-fits-all approach and with many federal agencies having the authority to regulate agriculture, small farmers are forced to comply with expensive, confusing, and time-consuming regulations, which in turn negatively impacts the American economy.”
The Subcommittee heard from three farmers located in Iowa and Kansas about how federal regulations have impacted their farming operations.
“Arduous, expensive, and confusing regulations can be completely detrimental to small business owners, including farmers,” said Craig Martins, Operations Manager for Three Rivers FS, in Dyersville, IA, testifying on behalf of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and GROWMARK, Inc. “It is imperative that federal policies promote an economically healthy and competitive U.S. agriculture sector, and this can only be accomplished if farmers are able to operate without the oppressive weight of undue regulation.”
“America’s farmers and ranchers, currently facing a decline in incomes, a growing labor shortage, market volatility caused by trade disputes and the vagaries of Mother Nature, can only be disheartened by also having to contend with the red tape and unfunded mandates spewing forth from bureaucrats in Washington,” said John Weber, Owner of Valley Lane Farms Inc. in Dysart, IA, testifying on behalf of the National Pork Producers Council. “From 2009 through 2016, more than 21,000 new rules were imposed on business and agriculture at a cost of about $110 billion, according to data from the Government Accountability Office.”
“Farm income is at the lowest level in more than a decade and, since 2013, has fallen by more than 50 percent or $64 billion,” said Glenn Brunkow, Co-Owner of Brush Creek Cattle Company in Wamego, KS, testifying on behalf of the American Farm Bureau Federation. “In tough economic times like this, farmers feel the impact of regulations even more because money dedicated to compliance – especially when it is of doubtful value – is money that cannot be reinvested in the farm or put in the bank to cushion against hard times.”