The Agricultural Act of 2014 has now been signed into law. This omnibus bill will dramatically impact the agricultural industry over the next decade. It will also impact existing environmental law and compliance regulations that govern activity both on and well beyond farmland. Traditionally, farm bills in America have primarily been created in the interests of farmers, various organizations with agricultural interests and non-profit environmental entities. However, the 2014 farm bill’s provisions have been influenced by a myriad of additional interest groups.

This shift in influencing factors is significant because interest groups outside those with direct agricultural and environmental ties have been allowed to impact the farm bill’s funding dollars and policy focus. For example, a number of conservation efforts governed by the farm bill have been consolidated and given access to less funding than they have received in the past because these efforts are now competing with other interests for governmental resources.

Individuals and organizations who are deeply impacted by environmental law should consider further study of the farm bill and the implications that shifting allegiances are having on environmental regulations, compliance and federal environmental priorities. Some scholars are arguing that this 2014 farm bill represents the beginning of a new era in regard to these issues in which competing interests will increasingly be affecting environmental policy, conservation efforts and compliance law.

With that said, it is worth noting that an experienced environmental law attorney can help to answer any questions you may have about how this bill may affect you and your business. When it comes to understanding the larger legal implications of any specific environmental law, an attorney can potentially provide such guidance.

Source: Jurist, “Changing Coalitions and the 2014 Farm Bill,” Laurie Ristino, Feb. 27, 2014