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Transcript - KICD Radio Interview with Region 7 Senior Advisor Josh Svaty on EPA Outreach to Cattle Producers and Other Topics


Troy Leininger: For today's feature on News Radio 1240, KICD and CD 107.7, we're going to visit with Josh Svaty. He is the Senior Advisor for EPA Region 7. They had some crew from the EPA at the Iowa State Fair, and talking to producers and growers and the public alike. So Josh, tell me what you were doing at the Iowa State Fair.

Josh Svaty: First of all, Troy, thanks for having us today. It's a pleasure to talk to you, and we have been at the State Fair now for two days.

One of the roles of EPA Region 7, since it's a regional office, we have four states in the region – Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa – and it's important that we interact with the stakeholders and, especially since Region 7 is such an ag-central region, interact with those agricultural stakeholders. And the nice thing about our region is that we have vibrant State Fairs where a lot of these commodity groups and associations get together once a year anyhow. So we've had two fantastic days at the Fair that have really allowed us to meet with the pork producers and the cattlemen and the corn growers and a lot of those associations where their members from all across the state can sit down with us and talk about issues that are important to them.

Troy Leininger: What are they telling you and talking to you about?

Josh Svaty: Of course, this year there's been a lot of interest in the drought. But even drought aside, I think they appreciate the opportunity to speak with individuals from the Environmental Protection Agency. Iowans have been doing tremendous work in environmental protection fields for several decades now, and they've made great strides. And they want to share those successes with us. But I think there are also cognizant of the work that we're doing as well, and sometimes they are offering constructive criticism. And other times, they just want to get to know us better so they have a better understanding of how we work.

Troy Leininger: Well, and I think they are pleasantly surprised at how good the dialogue between you two does go back and forth.

Josh Svaty: That's been one of the benefits that we've discovered and, I think, without speaking for the stakeholders, I think they would think the same thing. It's very valuable. It's always valuable when two groups that so many people want to say are opposing can sit down and talk together, and that's what we've been doing for years anyhow. But these sorts of experiences at a State Fair, when you have producers from the entire state there, are extremely valuable.

Troy Leininger: All right. Well, let's talk about another opportunity for people to sit down and visit with you about various topics as well. You guys have a meeting coming up August 30th in Arcadia, Iowa. If people don't know where Arcadia is at, it's along Highway 30 on the western edge of Carroll County, so it's a little west of Carroll. And so, tell me more about what you're going to be speaking about at that event.

Josh Svaty: We do interact a lot with feedlots. That's also with our sister state agency, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, in this case. And so we've been trying to do more outreach efforts and more public meetings with feedlot operators so that they can have a better understanding of some of the things that we're working with, some of the issues that we're working on as an agency. And we like to go where there are a lot of feeding operations and Carroll County is a great place. And then Arcadia, small of a community as it might be, is a vibrant place for feedlots and feedlot operators in that portion of Iowa. So on August 30th, we'll be there in the evening at 6:30 at the American Legion Hall. And it’ll be talking somewhat about our overflights, but also just kind of some of the other CAFO regulations that we have that producers might be confused with or might have questions about.

Troy Leininger: So not only that, but if people have any questions, this would be the opportunity to voice them to you as well.

Josh Svaty: Absolutely. You know, the meeting is typically scheduled for two hours. But we’ve had several of these also in Nebraska and we tell people up front, we do these to come and listen. We are here to listen to your questions. We will stick around after the meeting as long as we can. And typically, in both meetings in Nebraska, we've been there two hours after the two-hour meeting was over. But we appreciate doing it. It's part of the job. And we really are there to allow producers to come and ask questions, voice their concerns, and have an opportunity to interact with us.

Troy Leininger: One of the topics you're going to be covering is the aerial overflights because that's been in the news an awful lot.

Josh Svaty: It has been. And we’ve conducted overflights both in Iowa and Nebraska – in this region of Carroll County, in fact, as well. And we know producers have questions about it. We like to come and help explain, so they know just exactly how the system works. But usually what that leads into is a recognition that it's not really the overflights that they have questions about, but more some of the enforcement of the regulations and how those work. And that's really what we're after because, at the end of the day, we're looking for better water quality. The producer is looking to position themselves so they're then not inadvertently doing anything wrong. And we want to find the middle on both of those things to help everybody move forward.

Troy Leininger: Visiting again with Josh Svaty. He is the senior advisor for the EPA Region 7, which serves Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska as well. And so again, we're mainly talking about what they were talking to producers at the Iowa State Fair about and about the meeting coming up, again, on August 30th in Arcadia, Iowa. Again, that's on Highway 30, a little west of Carroll in Carroll County. At 6:30 p.m., they're going to have a meeting where you can visit with them about anything that's on your mind. They're also going to be talking about the CAFOs and overflights, and also nutrient management plans and also manure stockpiles and the like. So bring your questions, come and visit. They'll be there until about 8:30 on the 30th. So again, visiting with Josh, I'm Troy Leininger.

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