21 January 2014 - Good Luck, Mr. & Mrs. Alt

Farm Bureau members who attended the annual meeting of the American Farm Bureau in San Antonio, Texas last week had the opportunity to hear the story of Lois Alt and her husband.

Lois and her husband own a broiler operation in Old Fields, West Virginia. It is not a large operation, they have eight poultry barns and on their property is a stream, about two-hundred yards away from their barns. They are concerned about the environment and have been recognized and honored for their environmental practices, to the point that officials of the Environmental Protection Agency said they wanted to visit the farm to see first-hand the environmental work done by the Alt’s.

They did, and it wasn’t too long after their visit that the Alt’s received an official notice from the EPA that they were not in compliance with EPA rules on stream contamination. The EPA said the wind was carrying dander from the poultry houses as well as litter and soil particles into the stream 200 yards away from the barns. The official notice also stated that the Alt’s were subject to a daily fine of $37,5000.00 for each day they were out of compliance, and even possible imprisonment. Talk about a fine example of the old adage...”We’re from the government and we’re here to help.” Instead, its’s “We’re from the government and we’re here to bully you.” This is an honest hard-working family being bullied by people in a government agency, who have probably never worked or spent a day on a farm or ranch, and have no practical knowledge of working experience.

The Alt’s decided not to take this EPA judgement lying down. They contacted their state Farm Bureau and the American Farm Bureau and they joined hands and went to court to stop this ruling by the EPA.
The court has not yet ruled on the issue, but I think the lesson to be learned here is, you don’t necessarily have to roll over and give up when the EPA or any other government agency comes on your farm or ranch and says you’re out of compliance.

The Alt’s said “We are going to fight it.” and I think we all owe them our support and a vote of thanks for fighting the EPA in the courts. Many of the people in government today forget they are hired by us, the taxpayers, and their role is to help, and not bully or intimidate.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.