Patty Mann from Shelby County

Farmers are key to successful federal environmental mitigation efforts

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should look to farmers as it works to mitigate pesticide issues, a corn grower told members of a federal interagency working group (IWG). 

“We respect EPA’s responsibility in protecting the environment, including endangered species,” said Patty Mann, a corn, soybean and wheat farmer from Jackson Center, Ohio. “We ask that the agency work closely with growers, the ones who often know the land the best, in developing and enacting mitigation measures.” 

Mann’s remarks were made to the IWG, which is composed of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Department of Commerce, the Department of the Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency. The IWG was established under the 2018 farm bill to identify and implement improvements to the federal government’s pesticide consultation process.

Mann, who has worked with the National Corn Growers and Ohio Corn and Wheat on these issues, cautioned the group against imposing a one-size-fits-all approach to these efforts.

“It is imperative that the EPA understand the real world, on-farm implications of mitigation measures,” she said. “Every farm and landscape has differences, so flexibility in implementing mitigation measures must be given for the best chance of success for both the farmer and the at-risk species.”

EPA should build off the successful efforts already employed by farmers, Mann noted.

“It is also important that the EPA understand and take into account measures that are already in place and used by farmers and their positive impact on the environment,” she said. “Conservation practices regularly serve more than one purpose.” 

Mann emphasized that continued dialogue between the IWG and farmers will be key to protecting endangered species and regulating pesticide use in a fair, transparent and predictable manner.

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