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David Sparks Ph.d Chat with Brian Searle
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Idaho Ag Today
Date: April 24, 2018

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Bryan Searle is a busy man, especially this time of year. He's running Searle Farms and he's in the middle of planting grain. And on this day he's also getting his equipment and manpower ready for planting potatoes. We interviewed the Idaho Farm Bureau President on an early morning in his office after a late night at the Custer County Farm Bureau meeting.


There's been a lot of pushback from farmers on the Omnibus spending bill recently passed by Congress, what's your take on it?


I think a lot of people were looking at how much that bill was, $1.3 trillion dollars! But farmers have some great things in that bill. I think one of the best was the exemption requiring farmers and ranchers to measure livestock emissions. That was supposed to go into effect May 1st. That would have been very difficult for small operations and posed a lot of legal challenges, we would have filed lawsuits and it would have been very expensive and a legal mess so this was a victory for us. 


There was also the Electronic Logging Device requirement for trucking. That ELD rule was to go into place in just a few months. It was very burdensome because when you ship cattle, you can’t stop and hold those cattle in your truck for 11 hours and then move on.  So there's an extension until the end of September. I think Its an opportunity for us study it, talk to the right people and hopefully get an exemption, a permanent exemption would be beneficial we just want to be able to move cattle. That was going into effect on the 18 of March and would have required us finding other ways to move cattle in a humane way.


We also got the US Sheep Experiment Station funded. The station, as you know is located in Dubois and that funding was continued, so that was a good part of Omnibus.


Overall, I think our members need to remember that we have to spend money to get good quality programs, it's a lot of money but these programs make money. We must remember all of the things that come from Omnibus that benefit farmers and ranchers and many are not evident at first glance.


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