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09 January 2015 - Unfinished Business for 2015

Here we are well into 2015, probably far enough to have broken most of the resolutions we made an the first day of the year. And when it comes to broken resolutions and unfinished business, we really see that constantly happening in Washington, D.C.

Some examples of items that really need attention in 2015 are centered at the Environmental Protection Agency that failed least year to do what it promised with the Renewable Fuels Standard. It said at the beginning of the year it would issue the 2014 standards by June, they didn’t, and at the end of the year said they would issue the 2014 standards in 2015. We are still waiting and that means corn producers and ethanol producers can not make long term plans on expansion. The agency needs to make promised decisions on time.

Also, the E.P.A. still hasn’t determined the final definition of navigable waters in the Clean Water Act. I applaud them for listening to the concerns of agricultural producers and landowners, but is it so difficult to decide that a ditch running through farm land that may carry water three or four times a year after a heavy rain is not navigable water. E.P.A. officials continue to say farmers should trust them, farmers continue to say they don’t trust them because of previous decisions. Let’s do it soon in understandable language.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, the trade agreement involving 12 nations that’s been in the works for five years, needs to be completed to allow orderly trade expansion. Several nations, particularly Japan, have been throwing up roadblocks that delay a final agreement. Another reason to complete this trade treaty quickly is because talks on a new Euro Zone treaty get underway in earnest this year.

And finally, let’s end what Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack calls the War on Science. I have been concerned for years by the number of people I encounter who are against technology of any kind in our food production, and are more willing to listen to people on the internet, most of them anonymous with no scientific background, making all sorts of unproved claims about the terrible things farmers do to animals and the environment to produce food, fiber and energy. Science must be the benchmark for these claims, not emotion. So, let’s get back to reality, end the War on Science, and do what we need to do to feed another two-billion people on the planet by 2050.

With that, I thank you for putting up with my personal opinions, biases and prejudices for another year; as I always say, I don’t expect you to agree with me, but I do want to stimulate your thinking process. And I know there are three sides to every story, your side, my side and somewhere in the middle is the truth. So get ready for another year of…

Samuelson Sez