Farmers and agriculture industry representatives attending the 2012 Commodity Classic had the chance to ask questions of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) top agricultural advisor at a learning center session sponsored by the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) Foundation.
Larry Elworth, agricultural counselor to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, spoke and answered questions at the session held Friday afternoon, after which he talked with members of the audience and media.
Elworth reviewed his comments with NAWG for an audio interview posted online at http://www.wheatworld.org/wp-content/uploads/audio-elworth-q-and-a-classic-20120307.mp3.
The learning center session brought Elworth to Classic for the second year in a row, reprising his popular talk at the 2011 Classic.
In his prepared remarks, Elworth spoke about hot environmental topics including pesticide permitting and oil spill rules that are proving confounding to many in agriculture.
Later, he answered questions from attendees concerned about water regulations, dust regulations and getting information about what farmers must do to be in compliance with EPA rules.
In his talk and in the audio interview available from NAWG, Elworth emphasized the importance of communication between the agriculture community and EPA offices in Washington and around the country.
He noted that many environmental laws now being used to regulate agricultural operations were not written with agriculture in mind, and said one “could argue” that complicates the job.
However, Elworth said he believes there are solutions to regulatory challenges and encouraged farmers to let EPA know what problems they are facing.