During the Farmfest congressional forum Tuesday, Ranking House Agriculture member Collin Peterson mentioned how he'd looked into the Ag Panic Attack pushed by some Republicans: the rural legend that the Obama administration's EPA was going to regulate dust in farming.
If you've ever combined soybeans or watched a farmer combine her beans, you know why threats of regulating that process would be an issue.
In House candidates strive to please farmers, Forum Communications political staff writer Don Davis reports:
When he was talking to the tent full of farmers, Peterson repeatedly talked about things he has done to help them.
For one thing, he said that he talked to the leader of the Environmental Protection Agency when it appeared the agency would force farmers to enact dust-control procedures. Peterson reported that she said an underling in the agency suggested that, but it was not in the works.
Bluestem has plowed this ground before after reading that Mike Parry was frightening farmers about the proposed "dust rule" as he campaigned for the Republican endorsement. As we noted in last November's Emo Senator: battling phantom EPA dust menace key to Parry's totally straightforward campaign:
Bluestem agrees that a rule against combine dust would be devastating to farmers. However, far more devastating to the poltical process is basing campaigns on pure cow flops, as legendary Minnesota politician Magnus Johnson liked to point out about the Republican platform of his time.
Parry is riding that manure spreader. The Washington Post reported in Bill to ban phantom EPA dust rule approved by House panel:
Earlier this year, Republicans found what they saw as an ideal talking point to illustrate a federal bureaucracy gone batty.
The Environmental Protection Agency, they warned, was trying to regulate something only God could control: the dust in the wind.
“Now, here comes my favorite of the crazy regulatory acts. The EPA is now proposing rules to regulate dust,” Rep. John Carter (R-Tex.) said on the House floor. He said Texas is full of dusty roads: “The EPA is now saying you can be fined for driving home every night on your gravel road.”
There was just one flaw in this argument: It was not true.
The EPA’s new dust rule did not exist. It never did.
Parry repeated the rural legend while campaigning in February, as we noted in The Crisis (of credibility): Mike Parry discusses "common sense"; Tom Paine rolls over in grave.
So while even Blue Dog Collin Peterson--who personally looked in to the rumored regulation and found it to "not be in the works," Mike Parry is still pushing the same nincompoopery. Parry released a video aimed toward voters in the ag community in which he began by saying that "there's never been a time when production agriculture has been more successful--yet under more threat."
What's the threat? Forget the farm crisis of the 1980s. Forget the farmland price bubble. Forget low hog prices. Or this year's drought. It's regulation, Parry states.That's his opinion, and it's arguable.
But one of the regulations he brings up? Those pesky dust regulations. Which never existed.
Technically, Parry is correct when he says: "Concerns about excessive regulations, they're real." Yes, people really have been concerned about fake dust regulations, mostly because fearmongering blowhards like Mike Parry--who also famously found sitting across a table from Governor Mark Dayton "scary"--repeat this horse pucky.
Here's an excerpt below of Mike Parry bringing up the phantom dust regulations (those how want to experience the full Mike Parry monty can watch the full 2:27 youtube here).
During the Farmfest forum, Parry also claimed that "Obama and the Democrats want to end production agriculture," a statement that was news to me as I listened in the tent, and probably news to forum participants Peterson and Tim Walz, both of whom sit on the House Ag committee and both of whom are urging Speaker Boehner to bring the new Farm Bill forward.
Photo: Seventh District Congressman Collin Peterson speaking in the Minnesota Farmers Union exhibit at Farmfest yesterday. Photo by Eric V. Adams for Bluestem Prairie.