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September 12, 2019 - 5:14pm
posted by Billie Owens in agriculture, business, farmers, 2015 WOTUS rule.

New York farmers, Congressman Chris Collins and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue applaud today's announcement that the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers have agreed to rescind the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.

From the New York Farm Bureau:

Repeal of the 2015 Waters of the United States rule is a victory for clean water and clear rules, according to New York Farm Bureau.

“Farmers share the goal of protecting the nation’s water, but the 2015 Waters of the United States rule was unreasonable and unworkable,” said New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher.

“It made protecting water quality and conservation efforts more difficult and created huge liabilities for farmers, especially when what waters would be regulated under the old rule could not be clearly defined. This turned farming into a guessing game on which land use required federal permits and what did not.”

The administration’s repeal announcement follows a multi-year effort by the American Farm Bureau, New York Farm Bureau and an array of allies to raise awareness of overreaching provisions of the rule.

“No regulation is perfect, and no rule can accommodate every concern, but the 2015 rule was especially egregious,” Fisher said. “We are relieved to put it behind us. We are now working to ensure a fair and reasonable substitute that protects our water and our ability to work and care for the land.”

From Congressman Chris Collins:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) praised EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s signing of the repeal of the Obama-Era Clean Water Rule, commonly known as the, “Waters of the United States.”

The signing of the repeal is part of a two-step process ordered by President Donald Trump in February 2017. This first step overturns the Obama-era regulation and reenacts rules established prior to 2015. The second step of process is for the EPA to propose a replacement rule, which is expected before the end of this year.

“This was nothing more than a giant power grab by the Obama Administration that had real and harmful consequences on America’s hardworking farmers and small business owners,” Congressman Collins said.

“This rule has serious implications for our local farmers, it allows bureaucrats to determine if small divots or puddles were considered ‘navigable waters’. President Trump made a promise to farmers across the nation and I applaud him for keeping it by repealing these outrageous regulations. &rdquo

In 2014, Congressman Collins attempted to block the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) from expanding federal control under the Clean Water Act by leading a letter to the EPA Administrator and the Department of Army Secretary urging them not the move forward. A majority of Congress signed on to Congressman Collins’ letter.

Congressman Collins additionally was a cosponsor of H.R. 5078, the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act, which would prevent the EPA and the Army Corp of Engineers from implementing the proposed rule that would redefine “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. This legislation passed in the House but was not taken up in the Senate.

The repeal is expected to be challenged in court by a number of environmental groups.

From U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue:

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today praised the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for taking another step to fulfill President Trump’s pledge to repeal and replace the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.

“Repealing the WOTUS rule is a major win for American agriculture. The extreme overreach from the past Administration had government taking the productivity of the land people had worked for years,” Secretary Perdue said.

“Farmers and ranchers are exceptional stewards of the land, taking great care to preserve it for generations to come. President Trump is making good on his promise to reduce burdensome regulations to free our producers to do what they do best – feed, fuel, and clothe this nation and the world.” 

Background:

One of President Trump’s earliest acts in office was an Executive Order directing EPA and the Army Corps to review and potentially replace the Obama Administration’s definition of the “Waters of the United States.”

The EPA and the Army Corps have repealed the 2015 Rule that impermissibly expanded the definition of “Waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act.

The agencies upcoming action will restore the regulatory text that existed prior to the 2015 Rule and will end the inconsistent regulatory patchwork that has created uncertainty and has hindered projects from moving forward that can benefit both the environment and the economy.

The repeal remedies the legal and procedural deficiencies of the 2015 Rule, addresses the extensive litigation surrounding it, and recodifies and restores a regulatory process that has been in place for years. The new rule will provide regulatory certainty to our nation's farmers and businesses as to the definition of “Waters of the United States.”

To learn more about EPA’s WOTUS Rule, click here.

February 27, 2015 - 4:30pm
posted by Lou DiToro in batavia, genesee, farmers, Corcoran Combining.

This is the fifth in our series of profiles of the 2014 Chamber of Commerce Award winners. The awards will be presented at a dinner at the Clarion Hotel on Saturday.

Owning and operating farm equipment is costly. Just ask Genesee County farmers. In fact, it’s so costly it’s hard for farmers to justify having their own equipment. They’ll also tell you how hard it is to find qualified equipment operators. These are headaches and expenses farmers don’t need as they battle today’s economy.

But thanks to Corcoran Combining & Trucking, the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce’s Agricultural Business of the Year, local famers have another weapon that can help them survive. Corcoran provides planting and harvesting services designed specifically for local farmers. And it’s been doing successfully it for nearly a quarter of a century.

“Many farmers find it more profitable to hire out their field work to companies like us because of the high costs of owning and operating equipment,” says Stacy Corcoran, who co-owns Corcoran Combining with her husband, Bill. “That’s where we come in. The custom services we provide enable farmers to dramatically cut equipment costs. It works out well for both them and us.”

Delivers topflight services

Corcoran delivers topflight service that farmers can count on. With nearly 100 customers throughout a seven-county area, Corcoran works more than 40,000 acres annually. Using equipment that can cost several hundred thousand dollars each, Corcoran justifies the investment by using the equipment on multiple farms.

This kind of use spreads the cost over thousands of acres so they’re able to achieve cost-efficiencies individual farmers can’t.

“We’re try to help farmers any way we can with our services,” says Corcoran. “Agriculture is a significant industry in Western New York and we’re honored to be a part of it.”

Corcoran employs up to 15 people during its busy season, which starts in April and runs through December. Workdays during the season often run upwards of 14 hours or more. During the winter months, Corcoran washes, repairs and services their equipment, housing it in a heated facility the company built in 2014.

Started as a sideline

Bill Corcoran and his brother Tom started the business in 1992 as a sideline. They had two customers: their father and a neighbor. They never expected it to expand to what the business is now. At first, they worked their full-time jobs and did combining on the side.

But the customer list grew rapidly within a few years, prompting the purchase of a second combine and a grain truck. After a few years, the brothers split the business, with each pursuing separate custom-harvesting businesses.

Stacy and Bill expanded services in 1997. They added forage harvesting to their list of services, which involves harvesting hay and corn to make cow feed. The equipment they purchased for offering this service is also used in tillage and manure handling, which spreads the costs out. They also added a partner.

Growth eventually forced Bill to quit his full-time job and commit all his time to the business. Since then, the company has grown and prospered by helping farmers throughout seven Western New York counties: Genesee, Wyoming, Orleans, Livingston, Niagara, Erie and Monroe.

Future looks bright

The future looks bright for Corcoran Combining & Trucking. It recently purchased a new forage harvester and merger with an eye toward expanding their customer base even further. Plus, another family member may be joining them in the business in a few years.

“Corcoran Combining and Trucking is a family business,” says Corcoran. “Our sons help out whenever they can and my brother-in-law and father-in-law both have farms, so farming is in our blood.”

“But our youngest son is showing great interest in the business. He’s only 11 right now but he has great potential. It would be great to have him or any of our children join us in the business. But for now Bill and I are still going strong.”

June 8, 2009 - 7:26pm
posted by Steve Hawley in steve hawley, farm bureau, farmers, NY Farm Bureau.

 

HAWLEY STANDS OPPOSED TO FARM DEATH BILL

 

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R, I, C – Batavia) today voted against the Farmworkers Omnibus Labor Standards Bill, dubbed the “Farm Death Bill.”  By imposing unnecessary and expensive mandates on farmers, the cost of the bill, ranging in the thousands, depending on farm size, has the potential to put farms and agribusinesses across the state out of business.

 

“My family has a long tradition of farming.  Our Western New York community’s backbone is in agriculture – both socially and financially.  This bill will be the final nail in the coffin for New York State agriculture and more people will suffer the consequences of our farms closing than just the farmers or farm workers.  The price of food will skyrocket and further hurt hard-working middle-America families that are just squeezing by right now.  This bill is a disaster for the state economy,” said Hawley, who is a former crop and hog farmer and Genesee County Farm Bureau President.

 

Hawley debated the bill on the floor, citing the fact that from April 2008 to April 2009, milk prices received by farmers dropped from $18.20 per 100 weight to $11.80; corn from $5.86 to $3.98; and wheat from $9.20 to $4.24.  These price drops signify that farmers in New York State are already struggling to make ends meet.  This is compounded by production costs, which for milk are currently around $14 per 100 weight, meaning that farmers are already losing money on their products.  Additionally, New York State has lost over 2,000 farms over the last decade.  Hawley argued that the new provisions that the bill mandates will push struggling farms over the edge and force more farms, especially smaller operations, to permanently close.

 

During the debate, Hawley also commented on the comparison of New York State’s agriculture to that of California.  He stated, “In California, they have farms that operate year-round.  Their agricultural industry is 12 months a year and operates on a much larger scale.  Here, in New York, many farms only operate 1 to 2 months per year and during these months everything from planting to harvesting happens.”

 

Hawley, who also serves as a member of the Assembly Agriculture Committee, was among the first legislators to oppose the Farm Death Bill, or Assembly Bill 1867.  With the entire bipartisan Assembly Agriculture Committee, he sent a formal letter of opposition to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver outlining the devastating effects of the bill.  Hawley has worked with New York Farm Bureau President Dean Norton, a former dairy farmer in Batavia, local farmers and a bipartisan delegation of state legislators, to openly and publicly oppose the bill as well as to wage a public campaign urging New Yorkers to contact the sponsors of the bill in opposition.

 

Despite this, the Assembly passed the legislation by a vote of 85 to 57.  Hawley stated, “Tomorrow, the State Legislature is celebrating their annual ‘Dairy Day,’ a day when dairy farmers and agribusinesses come from all over the state to be lauded by legislators as the ‘pride of New York.’ How hypocritical for lawmakers to, on the eve of this day, pass the bill that will kill these businesses.  Once our farms close up shop, they will be closed forever.”

 

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