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EPA Announces Agriculture Strategy, Partnerships in the Heartland

Release Date: 05/15/2006
Contact Information: Kris Lancaster, (913) 551-7557, lancaster.kris@epa.gov



Environmental News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(Kansas City, Kan., May 15, 2006) – EPA Administrator Steve Johnson announced a new National Strategy for Agriculture that envisions farmers as partners with EPA in growing the economy and cleaning up the environment.

EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford said, “The national strategy captures many of the actions we in Region 7 have been working on the past few years. My goal has been to develop strong working relationships with the agriculture sector and partner to find common-sense solutions to problems.

"I want our Region 7 staff to communicate program information, be available to respond to questions, understand how agriculture works, and understand the connections between agriculture and the environment,” Gulliford said.

Some examples of water quality collaboration in Region 7 include:

the Rathbun Lake Special Project in Iowa, which targets specific best management practices to improve water quality by reducing sediment, phosphorous, and other pollutants;

the Smithville Lake Watershed Research Assessment and Stewardship Project in Missouri, which improved water quality through partnerships of the Missouri Corn Growers Association, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and others;

and the Tuttle Creek Lake Interstate Project, a collaborative effort between Kansas and Nebraska to address multi-jurisdictional water quality problems involving excessive runoff of sediment, nutrients, herbicides, and bacteria.

Watershed improvement grants emphasize water quality improvements in agricultural watersheds. They support innovative ways to reduce pesticide use and identify lower-risk pesticides. They also emphasize increased adoption by farmers of ecologically based approaches using integrated crop, pest, soil and water management methods. EPA is using these grants to support its Region 7 priorities of agriculture, critical ecosystems and sensitive populations.

Some of the air quality partnerships in Region 7 include the recently announced Blue Skyways Collaborative. These partners plans to develop projects to reduce air pollution emissions along major transportation corridors and in various sectors, including air, water and rail transportation; on-road diesel vehicles; and heavy off-road equipment.

Another area of focus will be renewable energy and fuels. A Blue Skyways task force has been organized around this effort. It includes the Kansas Soybean Association, John Deere and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“Renewable fuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel, are essential in solving our growing energy needs," Gulliford said.

Gulliford added, "The partnerships formed through this Blue Skyways Collaborative will enable us to leverage resources to reduce diesel emissions. We will be able to share technology and pool finances for greater reductions than are possible through individual efforts."

More details on the National Agriculture Strategy announcement are on the Web at: https://www.epa.gov/agriculture/agstrategy.html

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