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Agriculture experts wait to see what happens with Waters of the USA Rule under Biden administration

President-elect Joe Biden speaks at the Major Joseph R. "Beau" Biden III National Guard/Reserve...
President-elect Joe Biden speaks at the Major Joseph R. "Beau" Biden III National Guard/Reserve Center, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, in New Castle, Del.(Source: AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Published: Jan. 20, 2021 at 6:22 AM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - As of noon today, Sonny Perdue will step aside as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. Last week at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s virtual annual convention, Perdue gave his farewell address. He said it has been a “true honor” to serve American agriculture for the past 4 years and he added that he hoped he lived up to his goal of leaving the USDA in better shape than when he started back in 2017.

At that annual meeting last week, Farm Bureau members set their policy for the next year. The organization’s main priorities will focus on taxes, trade, transportation and Covid-19 relief. Delegates also emphasized the need for more transparency in pricing for the livestock industry.

One major issue everyone in agriculture will be keeping an eye on as the Biden Administration takes the reigns of government today is the Waters of the USA Rule. So far there have been very few comments on how the Biden Administration will look at the rule the Trump Administration proposed after they got rid of the rule from the Obama Administration. Observers say it could from 18 to 36 months before the new administration decides how to change the Clean Water Act regulations.

Wisconsin agriculture has lost a true friend and advocate. Former 91st District State Representative Barbara Gronemus has passed away at the age of 89. Gronemus served in the State legislature for 26 years and was the first woman to ever Chair the Assembly Agriculture Committee. Throughout her career she fought for rural issues and was especially noted for her work on the stray voltage issue in the state. Her funeral will be Friday morning at 10:30 in Whitehall.

Last month, the USDA’s National Agriculture Statistics Service mailed over 13 hundred Wisconsin farmers a survey that will give the agency a better handle on farm economics and production practices. And starting next month, USDA personnel will start contacting farmers who haven’t filled out those surveys and sent them back. The survey wants to know about operating revenues, production costs and household characteristics. Added to this year’s survey are questions about the Covid-19 pandemic and how it has impacted the farm and household finances as well as off-farm employment. About 30 thousand farmers across the country will be surveyed for the information that will be released in July.

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