Friday, May 29, 2009

NRCS Gets Dinged

A couple pieces of bad news for NRCS:

  1. EWG says they could improve the job they're doing with EQIP in the states in the Mississippi watershed. "We found that, up to now, EQIP has not been deployed as effectively as it could be in these 10 states. The methods used to decide how to spend EQIP dollars within a state and which farmers will get those dollars are more likely to result in diffuse and fragmented efforts to reduce pollution from farms, rather than the focused and coordinated effort needed to clean up the Mississippi River and its tributaries."
  2. Farmgate reports on a court case USDA lost in Iowa, having to do with the definition of "wetlands" under swampbuster rules:

    In his summary of the case, Iowa State’s McEowen says, “So, in essence, USDA harassed the plaintiff with bogus wetland violation claims for many years which placed the plaintiff within the potential peril of bankruptcy and continued to maintain its bogus claims in an attempt to avoid paying the plaintiff’s attorney fees.” He says that is not new, and quotes another case, in which the court said, “…there is no worse statute than one misunderstood by those who interpret it.”

    McEowen suggests that USDA should send its staff and attorneys to some wetland education classes, and if courts keep making USDA reimburse land owners for their attorney fees, then USDA may learn what the law is.

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