Press Releases

Owens, NY Farm Bureau Praise Commonsense USDA Guidelines

Congressman urged USDA to issue reasonable environmental guidelines affecting New York family farms.

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Washington, Dec 14, 2011 | Sean Magers (202-225-4611) | comments
WASHINGTON – Congressman Bill Owens today joined the New York Farm Bureau in praising new, commonsense guidelines from the USDA that affect nutrient and waste management in the agriculture community. Earlier this year, Congressman Owens wrote to the USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack urging him to consider a practical approach to a rule that would dictate how farmers dispose of their nutrient waste.
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Congressman Bill Owens today joined the New York Farm Bureau in praising new, commonsense guidelines from the USDA that affect nutrient and waste management in the agriculture community. Earlier this year, Congressman Owens wrote to the USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack urging him to consider a practical approach to a rule that would dictate how farmers dispose of their nutrient waste.

“We are very pleased to see the USDA take a rational approach in creating the guidelines for family farms regarding nutrient management,” said Owens. “I was happy to work with the New York Farm Bureau this year to address serious concerns their members had with the initial draft policy when it was released.”

The original guideline created by the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) for “Nutrient Application Timing and Placement” did so without taking into account the already satisfactory rules and performance related to nutrient management in New York. Most troubling in the original guideline was a section that almost banned manure spreading during the winter months.

“The strong grassroots activism of New York farmers and the hard work of our friends in government like Congressman Bill Owens clearly paid off in the revised Code 590 guidelines that were announced yesterday,” said Dean Norton, President of New York Farm Bureau. “The NRCS heard the voices of our members and retreated from its position that the Federal Government should tell New York farmers how best to manage their land. New York already has the most progressive and rigorous standards for nutrient management in the country and I am very thankful that NRCS recognized this simple fact and now agrees with Congressman Owens and New York Farm Bureau that states need more regulatory flexibility.”

Text of Owens’ letter, co-authored with New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, is attached.

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