Minnesota Farmers Union President Testifies on Upper Mississippi River Water Quality
From National Farmers Union:
WASHINGTON (June 9, 2010) - Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) President Doug Peterson testified today before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power on the status of Upper Mississippi River water quality.
"This was a great opportunity to stress the need for farmer participation in this process to ensure implementation plans contain pollution reduction strategies that consider local needs," said Peterson.
The hearing was held as the subcommittee is considering S.2779, the Upper Mississippi River Basin Protection Act. Given the vast landscape over which water quality information will be gathered, implementation of data collection as proposed under this bill will require an extensive network of monitoring stations, equipment and personnel. With more than 60 percent of the Upper Mississippi River Basin in cropland or pasture, private landowners are logical partners in the establishment of a nutrient and sediment monitoring network.
"Private property rights should be recognized as a monitoring network is established and maintained," said Peterson. "It is absolutely critical that any data collected should be sensitive to landowner privacy as provided for in the legislation."
National Farmers Union (NFU) policy states that program effectiveness must be measured in an outcome-based approach where real changes and environmental benefits are tracked and rewarded. Efforts to improve data collection and analysis related to water quality moves the U.S. toward that goal by providing essential information that can be used to continually improve programs and practices for the best possible outcome.
"Farmers and ranchers have historically been our best soil and water conservationists when given the proper tools and programs, and continue to seek opportunities to protect and conserve the natural resources that are essential to agricultural production and rural communities," said NFU President Roger Johnson. "NFU is pleased Doug had the opportunity to testify in front of the Subcommittee on behalf of all U.S. farmers and ranchers and rural communities."
National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.