Goehring forming panel to review ag-related regulations

BISMARCK – Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring has announced the formation of a regulatory review committee to help farmers and ranchers deal with the increasing load of federal regulations.

“Agricultural producers are being swamped with federal regulations that impact their operations, increase their costs and reduce their profits,” Goehring said. “I have asked the state's agricultural organizations and commodity groups to appoint representatives to the committee to study and review proposed regulations with the goal of addressing concerns and defending the agriculture industry.”

Goehring pointed to recent proposed rules implementing sections of the Clean Water Act, the Worker Protection Standard and the Clean Air Act as having significant impacts on agriculture.

“The new rules all came down about the same time, just as farmers were working in the fields with little time to spend reading hundreds of pages of complicated federal regulations,” Goehring said. “It almost seems as if the federal agencies were uninterested in any feedback or simply did not want any.”

The commissioner noted that farmers and ranchers must deal with rules from a variety of federal and state agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Goehring said the committee will also provide input to the North Dakota Department of Agriculture to develop comments on proposed federal and state rules before they are implemented.

“Committee members bring to the table knowledge about specific sectors of our agriculture industry,” Goehring said. “Some, perhaps most, will also be farmers and ranchers themselves with firsthand knowledge of regulatory impacts.”

Goehring said the committee meetings and deliberations would be open to the public.

“This is all about public policy,” he said. “It must be as open and transparent as possible.”

Goehring said he hoped the committee will hold its first meeting in July or August.