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EPA Holds First-Ever Dialogue with Agriculture Leaders


As part of a new and closer relationship EPA seeks with the farm community, Administrator Stephen L. Johnson today in Washington presided over the agency’s first-ever dialogue with leaders of the agriculture industry. Johnson discussed three primary issues with attendees: (1) environmental issues facing agriculture in the next 10 years; (2) how the changing face of agriculture will impact the environment; and, (3) how EPA can improve its relationship with agricultural producers and get them more involved in environmental protection.

At the meeting, representatives of the farming industry offered a wide variety of insights and suggestions in response to the issues Johnson raised. They ranged from energy, to science-based decision making, to means by which producers can have more productive interaction with the agency. Participants offered support for EPA’s idea of establishing a permanent advisory group to advise the administrator on regulations and policy from a rural perspective. The leaders also expressed enthusiasm for the role they are beginning to play in domestic energy production (ethanol, wind power, etc.) and their desire to see this opportunity develop in an environmentally sustainable manner. Finally, they expressed support for science-based, transparent and economically feasible regulations and decisions, and offered their collaboration to bring these about.

Today’s meeting was held under the auspices of the National Strategy for Agriculture that Johnson signed in May 2006. The strategy sets forth an EPA vision for agriculture that looks at the industry as a producer of environmental solutions engaged through collaboration, innovation and voluntary programs in addition to the traditional regulatory approaches the agency uses.

One goal of the strategy is to secure greater coordination of environmental protection efforts, and EPA hopes that today’s dialogue will move the agency and producers in that direction.

Groups represented at the meeting included: American Farm Bureau Federation, American Farmland Trust, American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Renewable Fuels Association, National Corn Growers Association and many others.


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