Committee member shares insight into the EPA’s FRRCC
In a recent National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Beltway Beef podcast, dated Feb. 16, Iowa Cattle Producer Bill Couser joins NCBA to discuss his work on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Farm, Ranch and Rural Communities Federal Advisory Committee (FRRCC).
In 2007, the committee was established to provide independent policy advice, information and recommendations to the EPA administrator on a range of environmental issues and policies of importance to the agriculture and rural communities.
Committee members include representatives from academia, the agriculture industry, nongovernmental organizations and state, local and Tribe governments.
During the podcast, Couser shares details of his most recent Jan. 17-18 meeting in Washington, D.C.
On Nov. 16, the EPA announced its selection of members to the FRRCC. The committee is a policy-oriented committee providing policy advice, information and recommendations to the administrator on a range of environmental issues and policies important to agriculture and rural communities.
FRRCC addresses specific topics as identified by the agriculture advisor to the administrator and reports its policy advice and recommendations to the EPA administrator through the agriculture advisor.
“This meeting was our first face-to-face meeting,” shares Couser. “It provided an opportunity for us to sit down, get to know each other and make sure we had rules and regulations in place.”
He explains several topics the committee will be looking to address in the next few years include advancing climate migration and adaptation strategies for U.S. agriculture.
“This is a really broad subject,” he notes. “As committee members, this was one thing we had a lot of concerns and challenges about, but I think when it’s all said and done, basically we’re going to be looking at alternative manure management systems, improved qualifications of greenhouse gas emissions, climate and water and strategies as far as how to achieve EPA and U.S. Department of Agriculture goals.”
In addition, other areas of focus will include research and regulatory responsibilities with a large focus around pesticide, water and food waste, he explains.
“We’ve got a big job ahead of us for the next few years,” says Couser.
Couser mentions 10 to 20 years ago, producers and individuals in agriculture didn’t always have a seat at the table in terms of what FRRCC members could meet to discuss.
“I truly believe we have a seat at the table,” he says. “We can sit down with policymakers on both sides of the aisle and come to an agreement, or at least discuss the issues and challenges we’re up against as farmers and ranchers.”
In coming months, the FRRCC will divide its membership into two teams and start discussing different issues the committee feels are important, he explains.
“We will then narrow our areas of focus down to certain issues we feel the administrator needs to concentrate more on,” he says.
As a feedlot farmer from Central Iowa and one of the founders of the Lincolnway Energy and Ethanol Plant, Couser understands the importance of agriculture and its footprint.
“It’s been my priority to make sure there’s a voice amongst us in the Midwest,” he concludes. “There’re many voices in the Midwest that come together and bring those concerns and challenges either to state or federal issues, and we’re not afraid to make those appointments and sit down and have those discussions.”
New FRRCC members include Brad Bray of Cameron, Mo.; Eddie Crandell Sr. of Lucerne, Calif.; Jeanne Merrill of Alameda, Calif.; Jennifer James of Newport, Ark.; Sarah Lucas of Marquette, Mich.; Clay Pope of Loyal, Okla.; James Pritchett of Fort Collins, Colo.; Nithya Rajan of College Station, Texas; Lindsay Reames of Amelia, Va.; Raymon Shange of Tuskegee, Ala.; Jennifer Simmelink of Esbon, Kan.; Chantel Simpson of Greensboro, N.C. and Ryan Smith of Chicago, Ill.
Brittany Gunn is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.