WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), introduced the Agriculture Creates Real Employment (ACRE) Act. The ACRE Act would protect ranchers, farmers, and rural communities from burdensome federal overregulation.
“The ACRE Act provides necessary relief to America’s ranchers and farmers,” said Barrasso. “My legislation will help give rural communities a break from burdensome and ineffective regulations. We shouldn’t punish the ranchers and farmers who feed the nation.”
The ACRE Act is cosponsored by Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Jim Risch (R-ID), and Pat Roberts (R-KS).
The bill incorporates several pieces of bipartisan legislation within the EPW Committee’s jurisdiction that would help defend agricultural industries from punishing federal rules and duplicative permitting requirements. The bill also includes language supporting an efficient permitting process for predator control at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The ACRE Act would:
- Require the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to process take and harassment permits in a timely manner, while maintaining compliance with other laws;
- Protect personal producer information and identity privacy;
- End duplicative environmental permitting for pesticide application requirements; and
- Prevent penalties to farmers who are conducting normal agricultural operations that could be considered “baiting” of migratory game birds.
The individual bills included in the ACRE Act are:
- S. 219, Safeguard Aquaculture Farmers Act (sponsored by Sen. Cotton) – 5 cosponsors;
- S. 340, the Sensible Environmental Protection Act (sponsored by Sen. Crapo) – 18 bipartisan cosponsors;
- S. 478, the Hunter and Farmer Protection Act (sponsored by Sen. Cotton) – 3 bipartisan cosponsors;
- S. 1206, to ensure fair treatment in licensing requirements for the export of certain echinoderms (sponsored by Sen. King) – 1 bipartisan cosponsor;
- S. 1207, the Farmers Undertake Environmental Land Stewardship (FUELS) Act (sponsored by Sen. Fischer) – 8 cosponsors:
- S. 1343 [113th Congress], the Farmer Identity Protection Act (sponsored by Sen. Grassley) – 5 bipartisan cosponsors in the 113th Congress; and
- H.R. 5961 [112th Congress], the Farmer’s Privacy Act (sponsored by Sen. Capito) – 14 bipartisan cosponsors in the 112th Congress.
Read the text of the ACRE Act here.
On March 14, 2018, the EPW Committee held a legislative hearing on draft language of the ACRE Act. The hearing featured testimony from Doug Miyamoto, director of the Wyoming Department of Agriculture. Miyamoto detailed the many benefits the ACRE Act will have for ranchers and farmers in Wyoming.
On February 7, 2018, Wyoming’s Niels Hansen, secretary and treasurer of the Public Lands Council and member of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, testified at an EPW Committee hearing on “the Impact of Federal Environmental Regulations and Policies on American Farming and Ranching Communities.” Hansen told the committee about the effects that “one-size-fits-all” environmental regulations have on Wyoming’s farmers and ranchers, and their ability to do their jobs.