Former Ag Secretary John Block –

Hello everybody out there in farm country.

And now for today’s commentary—
 

It seems like every week there is another attack on commercial agriculture and family farms, whether it is the Humane Society, PETA, EPA, Department of Labor, environmentalists – they all want to tell us how to farm. Well, there is also some good news.
 

The EPA has been trying to steal our property rights from us for years. Three cheers for the Supreme Court. In a unanimous decision, it told the EPA that the landowner owns the stream bed and not the government. Landowners and farmers in particular should not have to put up with a government agency telling us if we can drain a wet spot or straighten a crooked creek. In case after case, the EPA has used its authority under the Clean Water Act to issue compliance orders. The Court’s ruling doesn’t completely get the EPA off our back, but it is a big help.
 

Another encouraging development is, the Department of Labor has agreed to re-propose a “parental exemption” rule for child labor. Their original rule would have forbidden kids under 16 years of age from doing anything on the farm. My grandchildren would not have been allowed to help sort hogs for market. I couldn’t teach them how to drive a tractor. You couldn’t have them in the back of the truck scooping corn. Keep them away from the cattle. Send them to the house to watch TV. As a boy, I remember working for a neighbor baling hay and doing all kinds of chores. Hopefully, the Department of Labor is starting to listen to rural America.
 

On the next issue, we can applaud the EPA. They have approved the first applications for registration of ethanol with gasoline at the 15 percent level. Bob Dinneen, CEO of Renewable Fuels Association, says, “Perhaps as early as summer we could see E15 at fuel stations in the heartland.”
 

I would add that consumers will love it. Ethanol is $1.00 per gallon cheaper than petroleum fuel.
 

Yes, there are some good things happening. Another good thing – I’m headed to the farm next week.
 

In closing, I would encourage you to access my website which archives my radio commentaries dating back 10 years and will go back 20 years when complete. Check on what I said back then. Go to www.johnblockreports.com.
 

Until next week, I am John Block in Washington.


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