Karl Brooks has worked as a lawyer, Idaho state senator, University of Kansas professor, environmental author and most recently was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agencys (EPA) Region 7, based in Kansas City. In this weeks Agri-Pulse Open Mic, he talks about the controversial topic of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) flyovers of confined animal feeding operations, where small airplanes are used to check for potential violations of the clean water act. Its a practice dating back to when a Republican president first created the EPA. Brooks also talks about his willingness to listen to the agricultural community and how producers investments in new technology have helped improve environmental quality.
This week’s Open Mic guest is Michael Crowder, president of the National Association of Conservation Districts. For more than 75 years, farmers and ranchers have partnered with NACD to employ soil conservation practices to preserve natural resources and improve the productivity of their land. Today, conservation is seen as a means to mitigate the impact of climate change and help farmers sustainably produce food, fiber and fuel for the nation. Crowder says NACD is pleased to see additional funds directed toward existing conservation programs that are currently underfunded. He says additional funds for technical assistance will help producers engage more land in conservation stewardship practices. NACD has developed 2023 farm bill principles that they will continue to refine as work increases toward approving a new farm bill next year.
This week’s Open Mic guest is Nicole Berg, president of the National Association of Wheat Growers. The nation’s wheat farmers have two primary objectives for new farm programs including defending risk protection programs and a boost in baseline spending. The Washington wheat grower says the $5.50 reference price is below the cost of production for most wheat growers and must be addressed in the 2023 farm bill. Berg says wheat farmers share concerns about the availability of inputs for the new crop year and question the EPA’s increased scrutiny of important crop protection products critical to the outcome of environmental and production goals. Wheat growers question the White House Council on Environmental Quality’s endorsement of breaching dams on the Snake River.
This week’s Open Mic guest is Adam Putnam, CEO of Ducks Unlimited. The sportsman community has played an influential role in securing farm policy on Capitol Hill and continues to engage. As a former ag commissioner in his home state of Florida and 10 year member of Congress, Putnam understands and supports voluntary conservation programs that enhance the ability for farmers and ranchers to pursue environmental stewardship and productivity while employing science-based tools. Ducks Unlimited supports farming practices across North America and says their sustainability goals align well with both farmers and businesses looking to improve their environmental track record and address climate change.
This week’s Open Mic guest is Chris Edgington, president of the National Corn Growers Association. Several hundred corn grower leaders were in Washington recently to discuss policy and meet with members of Congress. Edgington says ethanol and the Next Generation Fuels Act are at the top of the agenda for him and other farmers. Farmers are also concerned about the availability of inputs for the next year’s crop as well as regulatory actions that would limit the use of crop protection products or restrict land use. Edgington says corn growers are participating in farm bill listening sessions and are keenly concerned with potential changes to Title 1 programs and crop insurance.
This week’s Open Mic guest is Steve Censky, CEO of the American Soybean Association. Over 200 soy farmers and industry leaders were in Washington for their summer board meeting and visits with leaders on Capitol Hill. The 2023 farm bill was at the top of issues that included land and water regulations, crop protection products, the rail industry and labor issues. Censky says soy leaders may have real concerns about any shift in farm programs to margin coverage instead of revenue or reference prices.