The Obama administration is no friend of farmers, and the recent stunt involving the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sending spy planes over the state of Nebraska to keep an eye on where cows drop their patties is the latest example of overreach by an administration that is bent on controlling every aspect of our lives, but farming in particular.
According to the Lincoln Journal Star, the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality has been overseeing the health of Nebraska’s waters for more than 30 years, and its director, Mike Linder, says he’s not sure why the flyovers are taking place. Why let the states do for themselves what our all-knowing, all-seeing government can do for them?
At an agricultural conference in November 2011, keynote speaker and environmental attorney Harriet Hageman warned “The EPA is one of the most insidious organizations in the US” and is “a prime example of regulation without representation.”
Farmers and ranchers have similar concerns about Obama’s U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). During a bus tour across rural America last summer, Obama was confronted time and again by ranchers and farmers concerned that unsubstantiated regulation was regulating them out of business. According to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, proposed USDA regulations “would cost 114,000 jobs nationwide and increase retail meat prices more than three percent.” A statistic likely lost on a president whose discriminating palate includes $100 steaks.
Certainly, no one can forget the USDA’s attempt to impose a Christmas tree “tax” (fee) to “improve the image and marketing of Christmas trees.” Bah humbug.
Last fall, the Department of Labor (DOL) attempted to regulate the relationship shared between parents and their kids on family farms. According to Politico, the proposed rule would have prohibited those under age 16 from manual labor like stall cleaning using a shovel and using a battery-operated screwdriver. When I was a kid, this type of manual labor was called Saturday morning chores. The bill also limited exposure to sunlight based upon wind speed and humidity as well as participation in 4-H clubs. And Mrs. Obama wonders why our kids are so fat.
Last but not least, the Department of Transportation (DOT) proposed a rule that would reclassify all farm vehicles as commercial motor vehicles, meaning anyone driving a tractor or operating certain farm equipment would require a commercial driver’s license. Never mind the fact that many farm workers are migrant workers who do not qualify for drivers’ licenses, let alone commercial drivers’ licenses.
Admittedly, farmers have their hands dirty in this corner they find themselves backed into. Farming subsidies almost invite the government to meddle in an industry it plays such a big role in propping up. But farms are not just part of the fabric of this country; American farms provide much needed food aid to the third world. When you apply bureaucratic pressure to any industry, you run the risk of driving those same workers out of the industry, which becomes self-defeating.
Government control of the farming industry is illustrative of the Obama Administration, which operates more like a dictatorship than a representative democracy. Whether it’s farming, healthcare, the auto industry, or energy production, there is no amount of government intervention and overreach that can replace good, old-fashioned American ingenuity and hard work.
Susan Stamper Brown is an opinion page columnist, motivational speaker and military advocate who writes about politics, the military, the economy and culture. Email Susan at firstname.lastname@example.org or her website at susanstamperbrown.com.
Photo credit: iluvcocacola (Creative Commons)
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