KarlBrooks

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EPA Connects with Young Agricultural Leaders

Karl Brooks

EPA Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks

By Karl Brooks

I’m always excited about new opportunities to connect with young agricultural leaders in the Heartland and beyond. EPA recently participated in a Web-based discussion through Agriculture Future of America’s Online Network of Tomorrow’s Agricultural Professionals (AFA ONTAP). This online format is a learning tool and a chance for us to interact with university students interested in careers in agricultural-related fields.

During the webinar, we covered numerous topics including the Clean Water Rule, chemical safety, pollinator protection, pesticides, renewable fuels, water quality, and career opportunities. I highlighted the importance of the Clean Water Rule to rural and urban communities and EPA’s role in chemical safety as it relates to agricultural fertilizer facilities. Hopefully, we provided a snapshot of career opportunities in natural resources and how conservation of natural resources positively affects the agricultural industry.

From EPA’s standpoint, it is essential that we engage talented and committed young people with an agricultural background and encourage them to enter environmental protection fields in order to protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we feed our families. Those of us lucky enough to live in the Heartland know that agricultural families feed the world and have made American agriculture a mighty engine that powers our nation’s economic strength.

We look forward to working with Agriculture Future of America for many years to come, and we really appreciated this opportunity to build a relationship and connect with young agricultural leaders.

Emily Page, Agriculture Future of America (AFA) event manager, hosted this ONTAP discussion and shared the following thoughts about our Web conference:

Iowa Farm

Iowa Farm

Through providing this Web conference in partnership with the EPA, we hope we’ve helped broaden students’ perspectives of the agriculture industry. As an organization that prepares agriculture leaders, we work with premier students from across the country who understand and value the importance of preserving natural resources. However, not all of them may consider natural resources as a potential agriculture career path. We wanted to help them see the connection between what they love and what federal agencies like the EPA do. We also wanted our students to walk away from this presentation with a greater understanding of the important policy issues in this area. We are thankful Karl and his team were able to join us to share their expertise.

We host the AFA ONTAP Web conference series on a monthly basis during the school year. Topics rotate between agriculture issues like natural resources, leadership insights, and professional development. To learn more about the program and view recordings of this and other broadcasts, visit www.agfuture.org/ontap.

More information about EPA and Agriculture Future of America:

www.epa.gov/region7/priorities/agriculture

www.facebook.com/eparegion7

www.agfuture.org

www.facebook.com/agriculturefutureofamerica

@AgFutureAmerica

 

Karl Brooks serves as the EPA Region 7 Administrator.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Common Ground for Soybean Farming and Clean Water

By Karl Brooks

Water quality and environmental issues can have tremendous impacts on soybean farming. With so many issues involving the intersection of agriculture, public policy, and environmental concerns these days, it’s absolutely essential that we all gain a better understanding of our common ground.

A speaker reads questions to the audience during the American Soybean Association’s Leadership College panel event. (left to right) Adam Ward, executive director of the Ohio Soybean Association, Karl Brooks, EPA region 7 administrator and Roger Wolf, director of environmental programs and services at Iowa Soybean Association sit on the panel.

That was an important theme for us during a panel discussion at the American Soybean Association’s Leadership College on Jan. 7 in St. Louis. With me on the panel was Roger Wolf, the Iowa Soybean Association’s director of environmental programs and services; and Adam Ward, executive director of the Ohio Soybean Association.

Those of us who work in EPA’s regional offices know how important it is to maintain — and likewise, build new — working partnerships across the agricultural community with the very people who feed us and much of the world. In the Midwest, Region 7 has a keen awareness of and respect for agriculture’s role in the economic fabric of the Heartland. We know how important it is to listen to farmers and producers and other industry experts.

During the panel discussion, I highlighted the Clean Water Rule’s longstanding exemptions for normal farming and ranching. While maintaining those exemptions, the proposed rule will strengthen the protection for clean water that is essential to all Americans. Currently, one in three Americans—that’s 117 million people—get their drinking water from streams that are vulnerable and need this protection.

We also discussed how voluntary efforts and best management practices will be key to the success of reducing nutrient pollution in the Chesapeake Bay, Mississippi River Basin and the Gulf of Mexico. My challenge to this leadership was to help keep pushing the science to find more cutting-edge nutrient management practices. Better models and strategies can be measured in improved water quality, both locally and in the Gulf.

EPA’s participation in these events helps us all work toward common goals of protecting our land and keeping our streams clean.

The sustainability and protection of our land and water resources is a mutual objective as EPA continues to work with our partners in agriculture.

 

Karl Brooks serves as the EPA Region 7 Administrator.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

Environmental Protection Takes a Team

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, herself a veteran of state environmental agencies, always reminds us that environmental protection is an “enterprise.” That means EPA is only one part of a larger effort that keeps people healthy and our natural environment productive. A very important part, to be sure, but EPA can only accomplish our mission by working with partners: state agencies, local communities, businesses large and small, and families who grow the crops that feed our world.

Here in the Heartland, Region 7 recently hosted two important conversations that illustrate why we say, “Environmental protection is a team effort.”

Region 7 includes much of our country’s most productive farmland. From Missouri’s Bootheel, which raises cotton and rice, to Nebraska’s cattle country stretching nearly to the Rockies, agriculture’s engine room drives much of America’s farm output. And when you look west, EPA Region 8 encompasses not just the Dakotas’ irrigated corn and bean producers, but wheat growers on the Plains and stockraisers along the Rocky Mountains from Montana to Utah. This immense agricultural bounty requires the EPA to know farming, and to know farmers. Some of America’s most influential innovators are ag producers and their suppliers, customers, and research institutes at land-grant universities and private firms. More

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.

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Listening to Heartland Voices: The President’s Climate Action Plan

Leader Blog

This month, Region 7 will be doing a lot of what this agency does best: listen, learn, and lead.  The reason:  the President has tasked the EPA to take the point on one of the most important  challenges facing our generation of Americans:  cutting carbon pollution that harms our health, impedes our industrial competitiveness, and poses serious challenges to Heartland communities that depend on agriculture.

The President in June announced a national Climate Action Plan.  The President’s Plan assigns EPA a big job in accomplishing these vital goals: cutting carbon pollution from power plants, building a transportation sector for the 21st century, encouraging use of cleaner and avoidance of dirtier energy, and preparing this country for climate change’s impacts on weather and water.

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Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.

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Here in the Heartland

130815-Iowa State Fair-2 1

Here in the Heartland, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency cares about fairs. All kinds of fairs:  local, county, and the “big ones” for our four states. In a region that provides a huge share of the nation’s and the world’s food, forage, fiber, and fuel, these annual gatherings in late summer and early fall give ag producers and their families a great chance to show off their work and to educate their city cousins about the realities of growing food.

Since I became the Regional Administrator for EPA’s Region 7 office, I have attended the Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri State Fairs. I spent a great day in Des Moines last month at “the fair with which none can compare,” the Iowa State Fair. Hope the attached pictures show how much fun I had, and also how much new EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy valued her day at the Fair.
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Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.