Efforts to Improve EPA-Farmer Relationships

It was noted that Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan’s visit to the 2024 Commodity Classic at Houston was the first ever by an incumbent administrator.

“During my visits to family farms over the past three years I’ve observed numerous ways you all are using innovation to improve productivity and profitability, while also reducing environmental impact. I’ve seen precision irrigation equipment, and aerial drone sprayer GPS technology, a cover crop interceder, a water reuse pond, and solar panels on barns all across this country.”

Administrator Regan also acknowledged the need for his agency and the ag sector to develop stronger relationships to address various issues such as climate challenges. To that end, this announcement:

“An important step that will help solidify EPA’s relationship in the agriculture sector for the future.”

With the establishment of an EPA office of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

“To expand engagement opportunities beyond any that we’ve done so far, and to ensure that your voices are heard and that your ideas are understood.”

The administrator announced that his senior advisor for ag, Rod Snyder. will head the new office.

“With the establishment of this new office, we will ensure agricultural and rural stakeholders have a continual seat at the table at EPA for many years to come. Additionally, recognizing these tremendous challenges, I rechartered EPA’s Farm, Ranch and Rural Communities Federal Advisory Committee in 2021. I’ve asked that committee to help ensure and evaluate how EPA tools and programs can best advance our nation’s agricultural climate mitigation and adaptation goals.”

EPA and the Agriculture Department recently reached a memorandum of understanding, enabling EPA to reference Natural Resources Conservation Service practices on pesticide labels to help growers meet Endangered Species Act requirements. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says this MOU exemplifies the relationship between the two entities and, more important, the improving lines of communication to help EPA understand the needs of agriculture.

“Now you’ve got this office. So there’s an easier vehicle for that to take place, and I can reinforce what farmers are telling you directly, but we need to educate EPA as it does its work about “this is going to be the impact.””