The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) today applauded Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) for comments indicating she will 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, said in a speech last week she’s establishing a working group with the two agencies to find solutions to concerns of producers and ranchers. “We need to sit down with the USDA and the EPA,” she says. “I know that it’s possible to work out common-sense solutions when you have everyone at the table.”

“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. Sen. Stabenow has shown she’s not only aware of the problem but trying to do something about it,” says NPPC President Sam Carney, a pork producer from Adair, IA.

Carney adds that NPPC will do whatever it can to work with Stabenow to address producers’ concerns. “Nobody cares more about the environment than those whose livelihoods depend on it,” he says. “Some of EPA’s recent actions do not meet the common-sense standard that Sen. 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.”

Stabenow commented that one example of a possible regulatory action deals with more stringent control of farm dust. “We might need to remind (EPA) that country roads can sometimes be a little dusty, and there’s not much we can do to change that,” she says.

Over the last 15 years, NPPC said pork producers have taken extensive steps to better manage their animals’ manure for optimum use in crop production and minimize the loss of nutrients into rivers and streams. 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.