The federal Environmental Protection Agency has amended the date by which farms must prepare and implement their Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure plans to May 10, 2013, state Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain said in a news release.

Strain said agricultural interests across the state have issues with the proposed rules and the state Department of Agriculture and Forestry sent an official statement to the EPA.

“The proposed measures will cause severe economic hardships to Louisiana farmers who have already suffered tremendous losses from flooding as well as drought,” Strain said. “The disaster conditions impacted planting schedules and have limited farm budgets.”

Strain said many state farmers are already implementing scientifically based best management practices through the Louisiana Master Farmer Program. The program addresses on farm fuel storage issues.

Strain said the federal amendment, if implemented, does not remove the regulatory requirement for owners or operators of farms in operation before August 16, 2002, to maintain and continue implementing a spill plan in accordance with the EPA plan regulations then in effect. Such farms continue to be required to maintain plans during the interim until the applicable compliance date for amending and implementing the amended plans. Finally, the amendment does not relieve farms from the liability of any oil spills that occur.