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Texas Ag Daily
AFBF: ‘Ditch’ EPA water rule

The “Waters of the U.S.” proposed rule published this week reflects the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) latest interpretation of the 1972 Clean Water Act. The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) urges members to resist the proposed rule, saying it will impose unworkable regulations on the nation’s farms.

The rule could ultimately lead to the unlawful expansion of federal regulation to cover routine farming and ranching practices and other land features such as ditches and areas of agricultural land that are wet only during storms, AFBF President Bob Stallman said in a statement.

Field work, fence construction or planting could require a federal permit under the proposal.

“Congress, not federal agencies, writes the laws of the land,” Stallman said. “When Congress wrote the Clean Water Act, it clearly intended for the law to apply to navigable waters. Is a small ditch navigable? Is a stock pond navigable? We really don’t think so, and Farm Bureau members are going to be sending that message.”




USDA announces investment fund to create jobs in rural America

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) established a new investment fund, Rural Business Investment Company (RBIC), to help small business grow across rural America. As part of the White House Rural Council’s “Made in Rural America” export and investment initiative, the new fund will now allow the agency to facilitate private equity investments in agriculture-related businesses, according to USDA.

Nearly $150 million will be invested in the new effort to create growth and job opportunities in rural areas, with an emphasis on smaller enterprises. Eight Farm Credit institutions are providing the initial investments in the RBIC fund, including the Farm Credit Bank of Texas located in Austin. 

"This new fund will allow innovative small businesses throughout rural America to access the capital they need to grow and create jobs," said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. "One of USDA's top priorities is to help reenergize the rural economy, and we now have a powerful new tool available to help achieve that goal. This new partnership will allow us to facilitate private investment in businesses working in bio-manufacturing, advanced energy production, local and regional food systems, improved farming technologies and other cutting-edge fields."

AgriLife Extension to host fruit tree management workshop

Whether growers have just started a fruit orchard or have been growing and marketing fruit for years, all are encouraged to attend the Fruit Tree Management Workshop May 6 in Medina. The event, hosted by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, will be applicable to homeowners, as well.

Featured topics will include planting and establishment, training and pruning, insect and disease control and grafting. The hands-on workshop will be held outdoors.

One Texas Department of Agriculture continuing education unit in integrated pest management will be available to attendees.

Cost is $20 and includes lunch. Call (830) 796-7755 to RSVP and to register.

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