In an effort to learn more about what issues and concerns area farmers have, U.S. Representative Jackie Walorski visited Lawrence Farms in Starke County and addressed a roomful of concerned farmers looking to speak their mind and be heard by their representative. Walorski said that she wanted to make sure as a representative that she has a good idea of what’s going on in the counties she represents, and in order to do that, she needed to hear from those in the agricultural field what their primary issues and concerns are.
As the final leg of her 10-county tour, Walorski said she has been getting a general idea of how farmers in the area feel about what is going on at the state and federal levels. She told the assembled crowd of roughly a dozen farmers that many of the counties she visited had similar concerns.
“I’ve heard a lot about the issue with EPA regulations, I’ve heard a lot more than I’ve probably ever wanted to know about manure on frozen ground, I’ve heard about differences in the regulations based on the 1985 Clean Water Act and some of the things that are changing, I’ve heard a lot about trying to dig a ditch and finding out that the permits have changed and everything is changed before the ditches were even dug, I’ve heard a lot about not taking out the word ‘navigable’ in this issue with the water, and those are the things I’ve heard about,” Walorski said.
Many of the farmers had the same concerns, particularly with the new healthcare laws and EPA regulations. Walorski explained that she shares their concern, as a new EPA agency head was recently appointed by the President, strengthening her concern. She said that the “heavy-handed” EPA regulations are being churned out at an alarming rate.
“I called my office yesterday and said, ‘We have to figure out a way to slow this down. We’ve got to figure out a way to rein in some of these EPA regulations and find out, legally, what we can do as a Congress because what’s happened with this administration is, instead of legislating through the Congress, more so than any other administration, these guys have just gone around the Congress and they basically move legislation through rule-making,” Walorski said.
Walorski went on to say that this rule-making process ultimately results in new laws that she said are created by bureacrats that were not elected to represent citizens.
Walorski said she would take the concerns addressed during her visit and compile them in a summary, which would be sent back to those present at the meeting and to the people in her agricultural network. She said if there are cracks in the summary or concerns left out that need addressed, she would request more information from those farmers in the field.