Two Kansans were named to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Farm, Ranch and Rural Communities Committee. This 33-member committee, established in 2008, provides independent policy advice, information and recommendations to the EPA administrator on issues related to agriculture and rural communities.
According to Jim Gulliford, EPA’s region 7 administrator, agriculture is the largest industry in the region with more than 280,000 farm operations across Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.
The new FRRCC members selected from Region 7 states are:
William (Bill) Couser - Couser Cattle Company; Nevada, Iowa
Nicholas McCarthy - Central Valley Ag Cooperative; York, Neb.
Jesse McCurry - Kansas Grain Sorghum Commission and Kansas Grain Sorghum Producers Association; Colwich, Kan.
William R. Pracht – Pracht Farms and East Kansas Agri-Energy; Garnett, Kan.
The new members will formally restart the committee, which currently has no active members. Members come from 24 states and represent a broad range of the agriculture industry. The committee will have its first meeting later this summer.
"Any time you have a chance to improve the community you live in, you need to take it," Pracht said. "I just hope the EPA takes the opinions of the committee. We all have a deep commitment to agriculture and the rural areas we live in."
EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler said one of his priorities for the EPA is to restore trust for the agency among agricultural stakeholders and rural communities.
"I think to be able to voice what our producers are experiencing will be good," McCurry said.
McCurry wants to help incorporate science, conservation and environmental tools. Having grown up on a diversified farm near Sedgwick and worked in agriculture and agricultural policy, he wants to represent Kansas farmers.
"The EPA is one of the most impactful agencies on the Kansas agriculture industry, so it is important farmers and ranchers maintain a voice within the agency to help advocate for the needs of the industry and work with EPA officials to find balanced, productive policies," U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall said in a release. "I am proud to see two Kansans named to the committee."