NEBRASKA (KMTV) — The President of the Nebraska Farm Bureau recently sent President Biden a letter, asking for clarity on his 30x30 climate executive order.
"Farming seems mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and the nearest cornfield is over a thousand miles away," said farmer Gage Hoegermeyer.
"The concerns the Nebraska Farm Bureau has with President Biden's executive order on setting aside 30 percent of our land and water for conservation, is that we really don't know what he means by set aside or put it into conservation. So we're asking for clarification from the administration," said Mark McHargue, President of the Nebraska Farm Bureau.
In the letter sent to President Biden, McHargue expresses his frustration with the communication the Ag industry has received from the White House so far. The letter reads in part, "Given the lack of detail in the executive order itself, as well as interior secretary Haaland's inability or unwillingness to answer questions about the executive order during her confirmation hearing, more information on the executive order and its goals are desperately needed before any action by the administration be taken."
"At this point, we have not received any correspondence from our letter, and correspondence from our members asking the same question," said McHargue.
So what could this executive order mean for farmers?
"Take it to the extreme would be the federal government coming in and acquiring private property and asking us or telling us that we have to do certain conservation practices on our property that we own or the water. So that's the top of the concern, that there would be a gross government overreach into private property rights," said McHargue.
And how could this impact us?
"If we were to take away one-third of the grazing land in this state, beef would become very hard to find. If we were to take on third of our row crop land out, the prices of commodities would be so high," said Hoegermeyer.
Farmers have different conservation efforts in place so that their crops and livestock can flourish, such as windbreaks, terraces to keep water and soil from rolling down the hill, and cover crops to put nutrients back into the land, just to name a few.
"When it comes to agriculture in the Midwest is that during the summer in the peak of corn production, we produce 40 percent more oxygen than the Amazon rain forest," said Hoegermeyer.
Farmers and ranchers in Nebraska urge the Biden administration to come visit these farms and ranches to see firsthand the conservation practices being used day in and day out and allow them to have a seat at the table when talking about executive orders related to agriculture.
Those with concerns about the plan could have more answers soon. Biden has asked the secretaries of the interior, agriculture, and commerce to submit a plan for executing the 30x30 by the end of this month.
Read the full letter to Biden below:
April 6, 2021
President Joseph R. Biden
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear President Biden:
On behalf of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation (NEFB) and our nearly 60,000 members, I am writing to you today to express concern over your Executive Order (EO) signed back in January that included the vague goal to conserve “at least 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030” (30 x 30). Thus far, the lack of details released on this particular proposal have led to far more questions than answers. Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers remain committed to caring for our environment and utilizing science-based conservation practices. The results of their steadfast commitment to preserving soil, air, and water can be seen across our beautiful state.
Concerns regarding the “30 x 30” EO, what it means, and its potential impact on our state and country have been increasingly voiced by our members over the past few weeks. Organizations have held public meetings in our state outlining possible worst-case scenarios under the EO where it is used to expand the federal government’s control over private property. The purchase and expansion of public lands and use of perpetual conservation easements are most often mentioned. Nebraska proudly ranks third in the percentage of our landmass that is privately owned (more than 97 percent). Any effort to upend these numbers causes us great concern.
Healthy land, air, and water are the lifeblood of our rural communities. We support and work hard to implement voluntary conservation practices to preserve our natural resources for the next generation. Any effort to undermine private property rights and/or place more land under federal ownership or regulatory control is counterproductive to these efforts. Given the lack of detail in the EO itself, as well as Interior Secretary Haaland’s inability or unwillingness to answer questions about the EO during her confirmation hearing, more information on the EO and its goals are desperately needed before any action by the administration is taken. We also request the administration seek input from farmers, ranchers, rural communities, landowners, and other key constituencies regarding the EO to allow those most affected to provide feedback directly to federal regulators.
Mr. President, real conservation efforts only work when those who will be impacted by these types of proposals are allowed a seat at the table. NEFB has a long and distinct history of supporting private property rights and opposing efforts to expand the federal government’s reach over our nation’s farms and ranches. If 30 x 30 looks to place additional limits on what farm and ranch families, those who have dedicated their lives to protecting soil and water, can do with their property, we stand ready to stop it. I would invite you or anyone within your administration to come to Nebraska to hear directly from farm and ranch families and see what is already being done to conserve and protect our air, land, and water.