The Importance of Comment Periods
Open comment periods are a span of time where federal agencies open up an opportunity for the public to provide their input on proposed rulings. As agriculturalists, certain regulations, like the recent BLM rule, have immense effects on our people and industry. Therefore, it is imperative that we voice our opinions when we have the chance. Comment periods typically give you 60 days to submit your written feedback. If you are hesitant to submit open comments, you can adhere to the following guide for help.
- Read the purposed action documentation of the rule you are commenting on. As you read, thoughtfully consider how this may impact you and your community.
- When formatting your comments, use a business letter style. Include the docket number for the purposed action you are commenting on. Add a subject like starting with "Re: (Docket Number and the subject)", as you would in an email. If you're submitting comments electronically, add a line in italics underneath the subject line saying "Submitted electronically through (the website you used)".
- When writing the body of your comment, always consider who will be reading what you write. Remember comments that are made on behalf of the Montana Farm Bureau Federation or County Farm Bureaus or imply that either group agrees need to be approved by the respective boards. If requested by MFBF, you should state that you are a member. Be respectful in your writing and use professional language throughout. You should start by thanking the reader for the opportunity to comment. Share some background about yourself and why you care about the purposed action. Keep your comments in chronological order with the purposed action and reference specific parts of the document. Give clear examples as to why you do or do not support different sections. Broad comments on concepts are appropriate at times, but try to establish a link with a specific, real-world example.
- When concluding your comments, list any unresolved questions or concerns and clearly state your position on the matter, along with any actions you would recommend taking in conjunction with your point of view. Be sure to thank the reader for their consideration and sign off.
For those interested in commenting, the large majority of federal rules can be found on the Federal Register as they are required to be published there at the beginning of the comment period. You can also sign up for messages from individual state departments via their independent webpages in order to stay up to date. We have two commenting opportunities linked below for those interested. We greatly appreciate our members who have commented on previous rules like the recent BLM rule and others, and encourage those who haven't commented to give it a try.
Want more news on this topic? Farm Bureau members may subscribe for a free email news service, featuring the farm and rural topics that interest them most!