The Arizona Farm Bureau Federation (AZFB) regularly prepares regulatory comments in response to federal and state agency proposed rules, requests for information, and other agency actions. In the first quarter of 2024, there’s been a mix of AZFB’s comment letters addressing both state and federal rule proposals. Below is a summary of the regulatory dockets that AZFB has engaged in thus far in 2024.

Securities Exchange Council – Proposed Rulemaking on Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE LLC; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change to Amend the NYSE Listed Company Manual to Adopt Listing Standards for Natural Asset Companies – AZFB’s comments expressed our strong opposition to the proposed rule, which would have created a definition for a Natural Asset Company, which included a description of sustainable operations. Our comments also sought clarification on certain elements of the proposal related directly to agriculture. (Note: On January 17, 2024, the SEC withdrew the proposed rule.)

Bureau of Land Management – Temporary Closure and Restriction Orders – BLM’s proposal included modernizing communication for temporary closures and restriction orders; however, it would also allow the Agency to issue closure and restriction orders without notice in the Federal Register, including those related to resource management strategies. AZFB’s comments aligned with those prepared by the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), urging BLM not to move forward with its proposal and to instead retain notice in the Federal Register and consider adding other forms of communication.

U.S. Forest Service – Land Management Plan Direction for Old Growth Forest Conditions Across the National Forest System – AZFB’s comments aligned with those prepared by the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), noting our concern with the USFS’s proposal to amend 128 land management plans in 12 months to address old growth and mature forest conditions. Because of the unique nature of different forest types across the U.S., our comments urged USFS to continue its longstanding practice of amending land management plans on a local and forest-based scale. 

Arizona State Land Department – Rulemaking Docket: Title 12-Natural Resources, Chapter 5-State Land Department, Articles 1, 7-9 and 11 – Articles 7 through 9 of Title 12 cover Special Leasing Provisions, Rights-of-Way, and Exchanges; Article 11 covers Special Use Permits. AZFB’s comments raised several concerns regarding rule revisions in Article 7 regarding the right of refusal, information requests by the State Land Department, and in Article 1, the need for a notice and appeal process. 

Environment Protection Agency – Pesticides; Review of Requirements Applicable to Treated Seed and Treated Paint Products; Request for Information and Comments – AZFB’s comments largely explained the importance of retaining the treated articles and substance exemption that has been in place for over 35 years. This exemption applies to pesticide-treated seed, which as noted in the comment letter, is an important technology that farmers use to address certain pest and disease issues. 

Arizona Department of Water Resources – Gila Bend Basin Active Management Area Proposal – AZFB provided comments to ADWR, noting our concern and disappointment with the Department’s initial steps in potentially establishing an Active Management Area in the Gila Bend Basin. The comment letter highlighted the uniqueness of the Gila Bend Basin and how current AMA statutes are too restrictive. It also noted the need to consider proposed legislation addressing new AMAs in rural areas that provides a more collaborative framework for their development.

Environment Protection Agency – Draft Endangered Species Act Biological Evaluations (BE) for the Registration Review of 11 Rodenticide – AZFB’s comments noted our concerns with proposed mitigation measures identified in the BE for rodenticides, including placement of bait stations and certain application prohibitions. We also noted concerns and the need for further refinement of species maps that noted stricter mitigation requirements for the entire state of Arizona. 

Environment Protection Agency – Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Regarding the Potential Development of Regulations to Reinstate the Reporting of Animal Waste Air Emissions at Farms under the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPRCA) – AZFB’s comments noted our opposition to reinstating animal waste air emissions under EPCRA. Our comments also stated that EPCRA was never intended to govern agricultural operations, where emissions from livestock are a naturally occurring process, as well as provided additional reasons as to why reporting animal waste air emissions to state and local emergency responders is not necessary. 

United States Department of Agriculture – Request for information on Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act FSA-153 Form Modernization and Information Collection Request – AZFB comments supported updating and modernizing the AFIDA FSA-153 form. We also supported updates to the form that will help obtain data that provides more complete information on reportable indirect interest to help identify the ultimate beneficial owner. Our comments also recommended expanding the data collected in the form to include information about the intended crop or livestock that will be grown or raised on the property purchased or leased by a foreign entity. 

Arizona Farm Bureau staff is also working on drafting comment letters due just before April, including responding to EPA’s proposed rule regarding Clean Water Act Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Meat and Poultry Products Point Source Category. 

For more information about a specific comment letter, contact Ana Kennedy Otto at