EPA Celebrates America’s Farmers and Ranchers on National Agriculture Day
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Lenexa, Kan., March 24, 2020) - Today and every day, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) appreciates America’s rich agricultural history and celebrates the work of American farmers and ranchers. In honor of National Agriculture Day and Week, the Agency is highlighting the progress that farmers, ranchers and EPA have made to provide Americans with a safe, abundant and affordable food supply.
“As we all work together to address the challenges that our nation is facing with the novel coronavirus, I want to thank our farmers for their courageous efforts to continue to provide our nation a safe, abundant and affordable food supply,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Farmers and ranchers are key to our environmental progress and the Trump administration has worked to enhance our relationship with one of our strongest allies in fulfilling our mission to protect human health and the environment.”
“Despite the difficult circumstances we currently find ourselves in, our country’s farmers and ranchers continue to work and provide the food, fuel and fiber we rely on every day” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford. “EPA Region 7 will continue to support these agricultural professionals and ensure that they have the tools and information they need to be successful producers and environmental stewards.”
Over 40% of all U.S. land in 2017 was farmland, according to the most recent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Census of Agriculture, positioning U.S. farmers and ranchers to be one of the most important sectors in the U.S. economy. EPA is working closer than ever with other federal agencies to ensure consistent federal policies that provide certainty and regulatory clarity to the agricultural community.
These actions include:
- The Navigable Waters Protection Rule: On Jan. 23, 2020, EPA and the Department of the Army finalized the Navigable Waters Protection Rule to define “waters of the United States” (WOTUS). This final rule gives landowners in rural America – including the agricultural community – clarity, predictability and consistency under the Clean Water Act to understand where federal jurisdiction applies and where it does not. This straightforward regulation continues to protect the nation’s navigable waters, while reducing bureaucratic barriers to agricultural production and growth and helping farmers and ranchers feed our nation and manage their land.
- Year-Round E15: The Trump administration and EPA are making good on their promise to promote the growth of and remove barriers to renewable fuels by providing greater certainty and transparency to farmers and biofuel producers across the country. In May 2019, EPA Administrator Wheeler removed the key regulatory barrier to using gasoline blended with up to 15% ethanol (E15) during the summer driving season and reform the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program’s compliance system to increase transparency and deter price manipulation. Taken together, these steps follow through on the Trump administration’s commitment to responsible environmental protection that promotes energy independence, regulatory reform, and increasing the use of biofuels to give consumers more choices, while supporting American farmers.
- Protecting Pollinators From Harmful Pesticide Exposure: In 2019, EPA updated its bee mortality data table to help farmers and beekeepers know about how long a specific pesticide may remain toxic to bees and other insect pollinators following foliar application to crops. EPA is actively increasing awareness of pollinator protection in 2020 through a three-pronged approach consisting of a workshop/conference co-hosted by USDA, a series of webinars, and the renewal of relevant Memorandums of Understanding.
- Approved First-Ever Pesticides for Use on Hemp: In 2019, EPA initially approved 10 biopesticide applications for use on hemp, just in time to be used during the 2020 growing season. These approvals were made possible by the 2018 Farm Bill, which removed hemp-derived products from Schedule I status under the Controlled Substances Act. To date, 26 pesticide products are approved for hemp. As EPA receives additional applications to amend product labels to add use on hemp, the Agency will process those applications on an ongoing basis.
- Providing Growers With Crop Protection Tools: EPA’s pesticides program continues to protect public health and the environment while promoting a safe, abundant and affordable food supply. From 2017 to 2019, EPA registered over 60 new active ingredients and over 500 new uses of existing pesticides, providing growers with the tools they need to protect the country’s food supply.
- Approving Innovative Pesticides: In 2019, EPA registered the first-ever pesticide product to help combat Pierce’s disease, a bacterium threatening the livelihood of U.S. grape growers.
- Connecting Directly With Farmers: Under the Trump administration, EPA has hosted 650 farmers at its headquarters in Washington, D.C. The Agency also signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Future Farmers of America organization.
- Building Trust and Partnerships: EPA is promoting the use of market-based and other collaborative approaches to improve water quality, including working with agriculture to identify opportunities to leverage existing conservation practices, promote new and innovative practices, and facilitate partnerships across sectors.
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