Regulatory decisions on water and air quality, ethanol usage, technology and other issues will have significant impacts on farmers in 2015.

The pace of federal regulatory efforts is expected to ramp up this year as the Obama administration works to implement the president’s agenda during his final two years in office.

"This is how he’s going to make an impact," said Chris Gruenhagen, Iowa Farm Bureau government relations counsel. "We’ll see more executive actions, and rule-making as they implement his priorities."

Most of the key issues are in the hands of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), including a controversial proposal on Waters of the United States (WOTUS) that would greatly ex­­pand the agency’s reach.

"The biggest news is what does the EPA do with the WOTUS rule," said Gruenhagen. "We don’t think they can fix it, which is why we asked them to...