Ranchers and livestock producers no longer have to report routine animal waste emissions to state and local authorities.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made its final ruling on the Fair Agricultural Reporting Method (FARM) Act earlier this month. The act eliminated the need for farmers and ranchers to estimate and report routine emissions from their animals and from the natural breakdown of manure.
“It's going to make it way easier for us,” said Craig Andersen, a National Pork Board member from Centerville, South Dakota.
The hog industry specifically has been troubled by the need to report emissions as the calculations used to report emissions was never specified enough for producers to do it themselves. Because of this, Anderson said farmers were having to hire outside help which was an unnecessary expense.
“We never did know where those numbers came from,” he said.
National Pork Board officials said that through programs like Pork Quality Assurance Plus, they have already worked with local and federal workers to estimate emissions and stay within certain standards.
The FARM Act was proposed in 2017 when a court decided that the 2008 EPA rule exempting farmers from reporting farm emissions was deemed unsafe under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act. Under the new ruling, assuming there aren’t further court appeals, ranchers are no longer required to do any reporting, although many livestock advocacy groups, including the National Pork Board, have asked their members to keep an open line of communication with state and local first responders.
The FARM act passed with bipartisan support and signed by President Trump last year. It isn’t expected to receive any legal challenges. The EPA’s latest ruling came after a year of public comment.