Former Ag Secretary John Block –

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the Renewable Fuels Association, Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

EPA cannot bring itself to leave farmers alone. Lois Alt, a West Virginia chicken farmer, has spent months fighting off the demands of EPA that her poultry operation had to have a clean water discharge permit. Here is what EPA argues. Dust particles containing manure and feathers were on the ground outside the poultry house. That’s terrible. How could she allow that to happen? EPA’s position is absurd. I confess that there is probably some dust and manure outside my hog barns. That’s just part of the normal operation of a livestock farm.

Fortunately, the case that EPA brought against Lois Alt was withdrawn by EPA. I think they were surprised when she filed a counter suit against them. Then, the American Farm Bureau and the West Virginia Farm Bureau joined in support of her counter suit.

EPA must have been shocked that a small chicken farm would put up a fight. They like to pick on individuals and operations that don’t have the resources. It’s pretty clear that EPA withdrew the suit because they didn’t want to run the risk of losing the case in court. Bob Stallman of the American Farm Bureau said, “This is a personal victory for Lois Alt, but it should not have taken a federal lawsuit to convince EPA to withdraw an order that was illegal from the start.”

Lois Alt has not withdrawn her suit against EPA. Why let EPA off the hook? A federal judge will decide where we go from here.
In the meantime, EPA will be looking around to attack some other poor farmer who’s just doing his job.

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

Until next week, I am John Block from Washington. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.