CLA Calls On Campaigns to Appoint EPA Administrator with Agricultural Background

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Speaking yesterday at the Agriculture Policy Forum during the Illinois State Fair, CropLife America (CLA) President and CEO Jay Vroom called for presidential candidates to assure Americans that they will create a new culture at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that understands and strives to work with production agriculture. Since its creation in 1970, EPA has regulated many areas affecting agriculture, including pesticides, water quality and land use. Yet, as Vroom shared, none of the administrators have had a strong background in agriculture, hindering the process of supporting and advancing the U.S. food production system.

“Why not consider naming a farmer to be the next administrator of EPA?” Vroom asked visitors at the state fair. “Such a move by the next President would help to remove barriers to resolving environmental concerns in agriculture in ways that are supportive of food production. Moreover, a farmer’s experience and in-the-field knowledge could even help EPA with implementing the areas of their mission that are outside of agriculture, further supporting our national economy!”

Advancements in agriculture have led U.S. growers to produce more while reducing their environmental footprint. From 1948 to 2011, for instance, soybean yields doubled, corn yields grew more than fourfold, and labor productivity increased by nearly 16 times. In the same period, total factor productivity (TFP) — the contribution from all inputs in production — grew by about 150 percent.[1] Continual progress in the development of products for farmers, including crop protection products, is necessary to ensure that growers can keep production high without needing to use more land.

Vroom also spoke about the need to preserve the culture of agricultural innovation to benefit growers in the U.S. as well as farmers all over the world. “The U.S. has the leading private and public agriculture research infrastructure contributing to the world’s creative engine. Today’s political regulatory climate has decreased some of the incentives to innovate; we need to give our agricultural research a jump-start and increase the momentum so that we’ll have the innovations we’ll need in 10 and 20 years from now.”

The Ag Policy Forum was organized by several Members of the US Congress from Illinois, including Congressman Rodney L. Davis, Congressman Darin LaHood, Congressman John Shimkus, Congressman Mike Bost and Congressman Adam Kinzinger.

[1] U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Productivity Growth in the United States: Measurement, Trends, and Drivers. (2015).

Michael Leary