The U.S. Envonmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers jointly released a proposed rule earlier this year to clarify protection for streams and wetlands under the Clean Water Act. But many agriculture groups say it achieves the exact opposite.

In July, the National Farmers Union raised several questions about the rule, mostly regarding which bodies of water would fall under jurisdiction. NFU is requesting the EPA provide specific examples and definitions.

The American Farm Bureau Federation claims the proposed rule, the way it’s currently written, would allow the EPA to regulate everything from puddles to ephemerals. The rule will also make it more difficult to farm or change a farming operation to remain competitive and profitable, the group says.

EPA officials say some of these claims are untrue, and the agency is working to provide more clarity on the proposal. The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers held a question-and answer-session about the proposal last month for American Soybean Association members.

The proposed rule is currently open for public comment and will close on Oct. 20.


  • Founder and former Precision Planting CEO Gregg Sauder launched a new company, 360 Yield Center, to offer a farming system that focuses on capturing yields beyond benchmarked goals. Using a from-the-roots-up systems approach, the company creates field-specific prescriptions for each farm.
  • The new Intego Suite System from Valent offers a novel seed fungicide chemistry for protection against Pythium and Phytophthora in soybeans. The system contains two modes of action and delivers broad-spectrum insect protection.
  • Netafim unveiled PolyNet, a flexible, lightweight piping solution for above- and belowground agricultural drip-irrigation systems. PolyNet allows growers to easily install, recoil and relocate drip irrigation systems.
  • Nutra-Flo introduced its FlexEC technology that allows growers to blend their choice of EC-based liquid insecticide and fungicide with any starter fertilizer. The company also launched PureGrade EC liquid fertilizer, the first liquid fertilizer to contain FlexEC technology.
  • New Tier 4 Guardian front-boom sprayer models were introduced by New Holland, including the SP.400F, the highest-capacity sprayer in the industry, the company says. Tank sizes range from 1,000 to 1,600 gallons, and booms sizes range up to 120 feet.
  • Miller St. Nazianz added five new models to its Nitro Series sprayers for 2015 that include Tier 4F Cummins engines that meet EPA emissions requirements, and ISO wiring that lets growers run precision products from Raven, Trimble, Ag Leader, Case IH, New Holland and John Deere.
  • DuPont Pioneer launched its new Encirca Yield services platform to help growers improve timing, placement and management of critical inputs. The platform relies on several enabling technologies that mimic crop production.
  • Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Science have created a strain of powdery mildew-resistant wheat using genome-editing techniques. A global patent has been filed, but no field trials have been planned.
  • Michelin introduced a 50-inch model to its SprayBib tire lineup, the industry’s first VF sprayer tire offered in this size. Designed to carry heavier loads, it will be available in the beginning of September.
  • Volt Aerial Robotics announced the release of the Venture family of small unmanned aerial systems. The drones have a new airframe engineered for ease of operation, durability and mission flexibility.