By Carrie Vicenta Meadows
Agriculture Advisor to Administrator Wheeler
As EPA recognizes our many partners as part of EPA’s 50th anniversary celebration, it is vital to highlight partners who touch our lives every day: our agriculture community. Now more than ever, Americans are appreciating the critical role that farmers have in our society. Farmers and ranchers are invaluable partners in fulfilling our mission to protect human health and the environment. We at EPA, with the leadership of Administrator Wheeler, have focused on working hard to enhance and strengthen our partnership with farmers and ranchers.
One of the Trump Administration’s priorities is to engage more effectively with the agriculture community. Last year, we welcomed over 650 farmers and ranchers from across the country to visit EPA Headquarters — many for the first time. We have also launched the Smart Sectors program in all 10 of our regional offices to hear from a variety of sectors, including the agriculture community. We know the importance of hearing firsthand from producers on the issues impacting their day-to-day life.
As EPA’s Agriculture Advisor, I look forward to meeting with members of the agriculture community, but I know it takes more than meetings to constitute meaningful change in our communities. One of the Administrator Wheeler’s priorities for EPA has been to restore trust for our agency among agricultural stakeholders and rural communities. To truly understand what’s going on at farms and in fields across the country, Administrator Wheeler reinstated the Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Committee in 2020 with full membership. This committee will provide valuable input on how EPA’s decisions impact rural America. Reinstating this committee, is another step toward restoring that trust and strengthening the voice of American agriculture at EPA.
We are also cultivating partnerships with the next generation of farmers. In 2019, Administrator Wheeler signed EPA’s first-ever agreement in the agency’s history with the National FFA Organization. This MOU reflects the importance of agricultural practices in promoting environmental stewardship and will help expand environmental education courses taught to FFA’s 670,000 student members.
We have made great strides at strengthening our relationship and restoring trust with the agriculture community, and we look forward to continuing to build on our partnership. EPA’s goal has always been and will continue to be promoting environmental stewardship, through working cooperatively with the public and this must include the agriculture community. As we reflect on EPA at 50, we celebrate our partnership with farmers and ranchers and our commitment to protecting the land, water and air, and recognize the continued work by American agriculture and rural America to protect our natural resources.
About the Author: Carrie Vicenta Meadows is the Agriculture Advisor to Administrator Wheeler. The role of the Agriculture Advisor’s Office is acting as a primary advocate and liaison for U.S. agriculture at EPA. Before coming to EPA, Carrie is a 16-year veteran of Capitol Hill where she worked extensively on agricultural policy.