The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) supports Senator Debbie Stabenow’s (D-MI) efforts to work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to deal with livestock producers’ concerns over environmental regulations. Stabenow, who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee, is establishing a working group with the two agencies to find solutions to concerns being voiced by producers and ranchers.

“We need to sit down with the USDA and the EPA. I know that it’s possible to work out common-sense solutions when you have everyone at the table,” she says.

“In the view of many producers, EPA under the Obama administration has shown a preference for regulations that we know harm agriculture, but provide little environmental benefit,” says NPPC President Sam Carney, a pork producer from Adair, IA. “Senator Stabenow has shown she’s not only aware of the problem, she’s also trying to do something about it.

“No one cares more about the environment than those whose livelihoods depend on it,” Carney adds. “Some of EPA’s recent actions do not meet the common-sense standard that Senator Stabenow spoke of, and we are ready to work with her, and USDA and EPA for that matter, to get these efforts back on the common-sense track.”

Over the last 15 years, pork producers have taken extensive steps to better manage manure for optimum use in crop production, he says. NPPC worked with EPA on a 2008 Clean Water Act regulation that set a zero-discharge standard for pork operations, and most recently participated in a two-year EPA study of air emissions from livestock and poultry farms. Data from the study will be used to develop science-based emissions standards for agriculture.

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