Baton Rouge, LA (June 24, 2014) -- On March 25th, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) announced a proposed rule that revises the definition of “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The agencies emphasize that the proposal seeks to provide regulatory clarity after significant uncertainty following two Supreme Court decisions. This proposal is being evaluated by many agricultural organizations and agriculture producers are being encouraged to comment on the proposed rule.The EPA has asked the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) and the LSU AgCenter, to provide them with a forum to discuss this very important proposal. A listening session is scheduled for July 9th at the LSU AgCenter’s Acadia Parish Extension Office in Crowley. Registration and lunch (provided) will begin at 11:30 a.m. Bill Richardson, Vice President for Agriculture says, “Our goal is to allow our federal partners to have an open and constructive dialogue with the Louisiana agriculture leadership on how this proposed rule might impact agriculture at the local level.”The public has an opportunity to comment until October 20, 2014 on the proposal. Ron Curry, administrator of EPA’s Region office says, “We are very interested in hearing the producers’ perspective on this very important rule. It is our job to listen and encourage producers to comment as to how the proposed rule may affect agriculture.”According to the EPA, the proposed rule preserves existing CWA exemptions and exclusions for agricultural activities. Additionally, the agencies, in coordination with USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service, will now exempt 56 established NRCS conservation practices from the CWA Section 404 dredged or fill permitting requirements, if they occur in waters covered by the CWA.Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Mike Strain, D.V.M, says, “This is a way for Louisiana agriculture producers to play a role in national policy decisions. I strongly encourage producers to attend.”If interested in participating, call or email Valerie Dartez with the LSU AgCenter at 337-788-7531 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org by 4:30 p.m. on July 3, 2014 to RSVP. For more information, contact Carrie Castille, PhD, with the LDAF at 225-922-1234 or email@example.com.