The House Agriculture committee discussed HB 1093 yesterday, also known as Agriculture Regulatory Reform. If passed, the bill would establish a number of means towards reducing the red tape discrepancies currently found within the sector. First, the bill would add a legislature-appointed agriculture representative to the Environmental Management commission, meanwhile reducing the total number of appointees from 19 to 13. Second, the bill would require that the state’s Board of Agriculture be notified of any rule changes or additions that would affect the agriculture sector. This is intended to increase the communication between farmers, the Department of Agriculture, and rule-making agencies – the bill’s sponsors say this provision is needed, since most farmers’ infractions are committed because of the complex web of regulations they are continuously perplexed by. Lastly, the bill takes into consideration the penalties these farmers face when committing these infractions. Because most farmers break these rules unintentionally, this House bill proposes that when addressing rule violations, these civil penalties for farmers focus on compliance assistance rather than monetary sanctions.
The bill addresses some prominent issues plaguing North Carolina’s agriculture sector, but there is a larger issue at hand bringing this bill into the limelight. The excessive amount of red tape between rule making bodies and state agencies has created a disparity in communication, and our state’s farmers are suffering because of it. Too much regulation creates these kinds of problems, and North Carolina should consider that agriculture is just one of the numerous fields where this issue needs to be addressed. Suffering from the bane of government bureaucracy is a problem all across the board.