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Novak Sees More Regulations For Indiana Farmers In 2015

The Agribusiness Council of Indiana hosted their annual conference in Indianapolis this week where regulatory discussions got a lot of attention. As regulations continue to increasingly challenge Indiana farmers,  agricultural organizations continue the fight to eliminate no-nonsense policy. CEO of National Corn Growers Association, Chris Novak, says 2015 is a big year for agriculture and it all starts with demand.

“We’re coming off of our second record crop and we’re looking at the EPA’s decision earlier in November with respect to the Renewable Fuel Standard and the required renewable volumetric obligation. Those types of decisions by EPA influence the market and the demand for ethanol. So certainly how we can continue to grow our biofuels market is going to be important to the success of corn farmers.”

Novak adds that finding international markets for the bountiful crop will, too, be an important piece for farmers. He says China’s approval of Viptera is a good start.

“As our farmers are looking at new technologies that are going to be important to them in their fields, we need to be able to ensure that we can look at different international markets, provide the data we need and that they will act in a reasonable and timely fashion. That hasn’t always happened in the Chinese market but certainly appreciate that our U.S. government is reaching out and working to open those doors and ensure that our farmers are going to be able to access that Chinese market.”

Additionally, Novak says the TPP (Transpacific Partnership) and TTIP (Transatlantic Investment Partnership) deals are a priority for NCGA.

“In order for us to conclude negotiations that are going to be critical to opening new markets, Congress has to act and give the President authority to be able to push forward these trade agreements.”

Waters of the U.S. is also creating problems for Indiana farmers. Novak says consistency would clear up much of agriculture’s confusion.

“Clear and understandable regulations that they can implement. And certainly we’ve seen through history that where a regulation is clear, even if it presents some initial challenges to us, farmers are innovators. They figure it out. They know how to meet the requirements of  a conservation compliance program, as an example. And yet at the same time what we’re seeing from the EPA WOTUS rule is lack of clarity. It’s a rule that can be interpreted one way today by one inspector showing up on the farm and another way tomorrow by another regulator. That’s where EPA needs to go back to the drawing board and bring a rule that agriculture can understand, that can be interpreted fairly and applied consistently.”

Novak says the lines of communication have improved on WOTUS with EPA.

“They acknowledge that it’s a reasonable interpretation from the part of the farm community that the new rule would be applied to certain structures. I’m optimistic they’ll take steps; they’ve been listening and learning. Hopefully we’ll have a better rule which is to be announced later this year.”

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