Consequences of government plans |

Consequences of government plans

Why don’t they just leave us alone?

Folks in agriculture have generally been a contented lot. With each passing year we feel the screws tightening on us a little more.

In my memory, the first assault was to loggers. Even though some people live in houses made of wood and burn wood to heat their homes, the feds came up with the notion that cutting down trees was somehow against nature. They even kept that opinion after insects entered and killed trees. Now what is a dead, bug infested tree good for besides fueling forest fires? They can be harvested but the anti-folks don’t care for that. Remember all of the times the public is asked for opinions regarding an Environmental Impact Statement? There are generally four choices: totally change the way things are done is listed as the first choice and no change is always listed as the last one. In between are usually two choices — and the federal agency has already made its pick — the EIS is just for show because it is required by law.

A recent declaration by the U.S. Forest Service that there is not enough saleable timber caused a generations-owned family sawmill to close in Hill City, S.D., costing 120 jobs in a community of 1,000 residents.

The forests can be managed, as our state government has done, as the state of South Dakota manages with common sense. After Custer State Park had a fire, the state had loggers go in and clean out dead trees, a more healthy outcome for the forest.

In 2011, the US Department of Labor tried to get a law passed that would have prohibited youth from agricultural endeavors. Those under 16 could only use machinery on their parents’ farms. The rule would have not allowed those under 16 to drive a tractor with more than a 20-horsepower motor, including garden tractors or riding lawn mowers. Those under 16 would be barred from any animal husbandry practice including branding, and helping sick or injured animals. They couldn’t herd animals in confined spaces, nor on horseback or using ATVs or other motorized vehicles. Had this rule gone forward, it would essentially have put an end to 4-H and FFA livestock endeavors. Breaking any of these laws would have come with a hefty fine. Everyone in agricultural production breathed a sigh of relieve on April 26, 2012, when the Department of Labor finally backed off its proposal.

Now the federal government has come up with another brilliant plan that would seriously negatively affect agriculture, and by extension any consumer who purchases food. As part of Biden’s executive order, by 2030 the U.S. Government seeks to put 30 percent of the country’s land in permanent conservation. It is called 30×30. Considering there is no constitutional allowance for this and the fact that the federal government already owns one third of the nation’s land, it is an attempt at a frightening overreach.

Nebraska is on good-footing in one specific regard: state law grants authority to local governments to approve and deny conservation easements when those easements are at odds with a county’s comprehensive plan. But what if your county doesn’t even have a plan?

Peggy Sanders

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