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NMPF Endorses Two Bills Related to Farm Nutrient Management Practices

August 2, 2016

NMPF endorsed bipartisan legislation introduced in the House of Representatives last month that would clarify the exemption for dairy farms and other producers from jurisdiction under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

The Farm Regulatory Certainty Act (H.R. 5685), sponsored by Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA), would make clear that the RCRA law, enacted in 1976 to govern solid wastes in landfills, is not intended to regulate agricultural operations like dairy farms. NMPF believes the RCRA statute has been used to inappropriately target agriculture, specifically dairy and livestock producers, even if they have demonstrated that they have been following approved plans for using manure as a fertilizer.

The new bill comes in response to litigation that claimed a group of farms had inappropriately handled and stored animal manure under the RCRA law, even though RCRA should not have governed such farming practices.

“This legislation would help address the growing confusion among farmers about the application of environmental regulations to their operations,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF.  “The RCRA law was not intended to govern farms, and Congress needs to enact this bipartisan legislation to reinforce that point.”

NMPF also endorsed Senate legislation introduced last month that would help dairy farmers increase their utilization of technologies that can improve water and air quality and maximize the value of nutrients. Introduced by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Pat Roberts (R-KS), S. 3248 will modify Section 48 of the tax code to make biogas systems and nutrient recovery technologies eligible for an already-existing 30 percent investment tax credit to cover capital costs. A similar bill was introduced in the House in June.

This needed policy change will help dairy farmers to reduce their environmental footprint, both on their farms and in their communities.