Too Much Regulatory Attention
Congress banned U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA action on small farms almost 40-years ago - but inspectors are enforcing a very narrow interpretation of the law by declaring grain storage as not part of farming. Recently a Nebraska farm was fined $130,000 dollars for alleged air quality violations.
There has been no response yet to a letter to the Labor Secretary by 43 Senators - including Senator Chuck Grassley - for OSHA to halt fines against small farms over grain storage. But Grassley says
Grassley: “It just proves to you that the people in Washington are living on a island surrounding by reality. They don’t know the rest of the world and are trying to regulate an industry that they don’t know anything about.”
Grassley was not aware of other OSHA crackdowns on grain storage - outside Nebraska where Senator and former USDA Chief Mike Johanns brought the issues to light. But Grassley says that doesn’t matter.
Grassley: “And if there is only one case, we have ever right to take the action we did. We have every right to pursue it until we get this idiotic sort of approach to regulation -- particularly as it affects agriculture until we got it stopped.”