We Are Whelchel & Carlton, LLP

Environmental regulations that impact Georgia farms

On Behalf of | Feb 22, 2024 | Agriculture Law

Georgia farmers are a significant contributor to the state’s economy by producing an array of products such as peaches, peanuts, poultry and pecans. However, this sector must also operate within the strict guidelines designed to protect the environment.

Here are some key environmental regulations impacting Georgia’s agriculture:

Endangered Species Act (ESA)

Under the ESA, farmers must ensure their operations don’t harm protected species threatened with extinction, such as the Allegheny Woodrat and Bog Turtle.

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)

The RCRA manages the disposal of hazardous waste. While most agricultural waste is exempt, some farm activities, such as fertilizers and solvents used to clear farm machinery, may generate waste classified as hazardous. These require special handling and disposal.

Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)

Georgia farmers must ensure the pesticides they use are registered and utilized per FIFRA regulations.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Waters of the United States (WOTUS) 

The WOTUS rule has significant implications for Georgia’s farmers. This rule, part of the Clean Water Act, regulates the discharge of pollutants into United States waters. Critics of this rule feel that it imposes hardships on the agriculture industry by creating more red tape and bureaucracy during a time when farmers can least afford it. These laws can impede farmers’ land use and stifle productivity by giving the federal government sweeping authority over private land. Furthermore, inconsistent water regulations can inhibit agricultural advancements and impact land values.

These are just a few environmental regulations impacting Georgia’s agricultural industry. It’s vital for farmers to stay informed to ensure compliance and preserve their livelihoods while contributing to the state’s ecological health.