Water Sub-Cabinet members tour Wisconsin farms
Farmers are showing President Trump’s water sub-cabinet members their water quality and nutrient management solutions. Aubrey Bettencourt with the Department of the Interior says visiting manure digesters and other farmer-led initiatives let them see first-hand what works. “If we don’t have good data, we’re not giving credit to our farmers for the work that they are doing, which means we’re going to throw up all of these other programs and regulatory structures, so the reason we’re all here together is when we go sit in our respective rooms back in D.C. or anywhere else, we now have this added awareness.”
David Ross with the EPA says farmers are telling them how different agencies often have conflicting environmental guidelines. “It is insane if a farmer goes to one federal agency and gets a definition of what a wetland is under a farm program, and you go to EPA and get a different definition, (and) you go to the Army Corps of Engineers and get a different definition. That is horrible government.”
Ross says by aligning the federal agencies, it allows them to make large financial resources available to water infrastructure programs. “The states themselves can borrow from us, and they can package and aggregate water quality projects across the state, and then wheel that money back out to build infrastructure, digesters if there’s a link over to a water quality component.”
Their recent two-day tour in Wisconsin took agency officials to dairy farms, manure digesters, and a row crop farm to see nutrient management and water quality projects.