(NAFB)--During a House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power hearing - the American Farm Bureau Federation expressed that continued state control of water rights is critically important to farmers and ranchers. Utah Farm Bureau Federation CEO Randy Parker testified on behalf of Farm Bureau in support of H.R. 3189 - the Water Rights Protection Act. He said Farm Bureau supports the measure because it is designed to dispel uncertainty and recognizes state sovereignty and historic water law. Further - Parker said the legislation protects livestock water rights from illegal federal claims and takings. According to Parker - some Utah ranchers have been asked by the Forest Service to sign change of use applications that would allow the agency to change the use of the water from livestock to other uses. Ranchers were told non-compliance could adversely affect them being able to turn-out cattle on Forest Service grazing allotments. It was later suggested these requests were made in error and ranchers had only been asked to sign a joint ownership agreement. In either case - Parker told Congress the federal agency is seeking a relinquishment as a condition of access to the grazing allotment. He called on Congress to dispel uncertainty and support H.R. 3189 - which provides greater certainty to ranchers and the future of public land grazing.