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News Releases from Region 05

EPA Administrator Wheeler Appoints New Member from Purdue University to the Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Federal Advisory Committee

Contact Information: 
Joshua Singer (

WEST LAFAYETTE, IND. (June 17, 2020) -- Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler is announcing the appointment of thirty-three members to the Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Committee (FRRCC), including Dr. Charles R. Santerre from Purdue University. Established in 2008, the FRRCC provides independent policy advice, information, and recommendations to the EPA administrator on a range of environmental issues and policies that are of importance to agriculture and rural communities.

“One of my priorities for EPA has been to restore trust for our agency among agricultural stakeholders and rural communities,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “President Trump has been clear about the Administration’s commitment to agriculture and rural America, and as part of that commitment, I am excited to reinstate the Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Committee in 2020 with full membership. This committee will provide valuable input on how EPA’s decisions impact rural America, and I look forward to receiving the committee’s recommendations.”

“Across the Great Lakes region, farmers are working together to find innovative solutions to address environmental issues. In addition to the partnerships and collaboration we are fostering with the agricultural sector in our Region, the FRRCC is another way for farmers and rural communities to provide input to EPA, so that future decisions better reflect the challenges the agriculture community is facing,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Kurt Thiede. “We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Charles R. Santerre along with representatives from Illinois and Michigan to the committee and look forward to their contributions.”

“It is an honor to serve on the FRRCC,” said Dr. Charles R. Santerre, Professor of Health and Human Sciences at Purdue University. “This important committee continues to provide policy advice to the EPA Administrator related to environmental issues affecting the agricultural sector. In times of economic downturn or as we are currently experiencing with the pandemic, rural communities are more severely affected. It is important to understand that rural communities are the life blood of our great nation. Food and agriculture provides a stabilizing influence especially during these challenging times and EPA understands that environmental issues play an important role for keeping our rural communities healthy.”

“My congratulations to Dr. Charles R. Santerre on his appointment to the FRRCC,” said U.S. Rep. Jim Baird (IN-04). “His work at Purdue University, on food toxicology has helped ensure the safety of our food supply. He will be a valuable addition to the committee, bringing his expertise and his desire to use scientific evidence to best serve the public.”

To build a broad and balanced representation of perspectives for the FRRCC, EPA selected 33 members to represent a variety of relevant sectors from across the U.S., including agricultural stakeholders and allied industries; academia; state, local, and tribal government; and nongovernmental organizations. In selecting committee members, EPA reviewed the quality of applications received between November 7 and December 31, 2019 for nearly 150 nominations, and considered qualifications such as: whether candidates have experience in agricultural issues of relevance to EPA programs, are actively engaged in agricultural production, have related leadership experience, demonstrated ability to examine and analyze complex environmental issues with objectivity and integrity, have experience working on issues where building consensus is necessary, and are able to volunteer time to the committee’s activities.

The committee had no current members at the time of solicitation; therefore, these 33 nominees will constitute a brand new committee, and will each serve two or three year terms beginning on June 15, 2020. The new members of the FRRCC hail from twenty-four states and one territory in all ten U.S. EPA Regions, with six of the Members working in multiple states or at a national capacity. The Committee expects to meet approximately twice a year beginning in late Summer of 2020.

The new FRRCC members and their affiliations are:

•             Michael J. Aerts - Minor Crop Farmer Alliance and Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association; Maitland, FL

•             Barry Berg - East Dakota Water Development District; Brookings, SD

•             Emily M. Broad Leib - Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic; Cambridge, MA

•             Don Brown - Anchor Three Farm, Inc. (Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture 2015-2019); Yuma, CO

•             Jamie Burr - Tyson Foods, Inc.; Farmington, AR

•             Phillip H. Chavez - Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District, Diamond A Farms, Mohawk Valley Farms, Catlin Canal Company, and Lower Arkansas Valley Super Ditch; Rocky Ford, CO

•             John R. H. Collison - BlackOak Farms and Oklahoma Rural Association; Edmond, OK

•             William (Bill) Couser - Couser Cattle Company; Nevada, IA

•             Michael Crowder - National Association of Conservation Districts, Barker Ranch, and Benton Conservation District; West Richland, WA

•             Matthew Freund - Freund's Farm and CowPots LLC; East Canaan, CT

•             Sharon Furches - Furches Farms Partnership and Kentucky Farm Bureau; Louisville, KY

•             Jeffrey Gore, Ph.D. - Mississippi State University - Delta Research and Extension Center; Stoneville, MS

•             David Graybill - Red Sunset Farm and Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, Mifflintown, PA

•             Dennis Haugen – Dennis Haugen Farms, General Grain Cleaning Co., and North Dakota Grain Growers Association; Hannaford, ND

•             Alex P. Johns - Seminole Tribe of Florida Inc.; Okeechobee, FL

•             Jimmy W. Kinder - Kinder Farms and Oklahoma Farm Bureau; Walters, OK

•             Jeanette L. Lombardo - California Food and Agribusiness Advocates; Ventura, CA

•             Lauren C. Lurkins (Incoming Committee Vice Chair) – Illinois Farm Bureau; Bloomington, IL

•             Gary Mahany – Gary Mahany Farms; Arkport, NY

•             Nicholas McCarthy - Central Valley Ag Cooperative; York, NE

•             Jesse McCurry - Kansas Grain Sorghum Commission and Kansas Grain Sorghum Producers Association; Colwich, KS

•             William Thomas (Tom) McDonald (Incoming Committee Chair) - Five Rivers Cattle Feeding, LLC; Dalhart, TX

•             Jay Ivan Olsen - Utah Department of Agriculture and Food; Salt Lake City, UT

•             Christopher L. Pettit - Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services - Office of Agricultural Water Policy; Tallahassee, FL

•             William R. Pracht – Pracht Farms and East Kansas Agri-Energy; Garnett, KS

•             Graciela I. Ramírez-Toro, Ph.D. - Inter American University of Puerto Rico - Center for Environmental Education, Conservation and Research (CECIA); San Germán, PR

•             Charles R. Santerre, Ph.D. - Purdue University - Department of Nutrition Science; West Lafayette, IN

•             Beth C. Sauerhaft, Ph.D. - American Farmland Trust; Chappaqua, NY

•             Stacy Wayne Smith – S & A Smith Farms; New Home, TX

•             Davie Shane Stephens – DJ Stephens Farm and American Soybean Association; Wingo, KY

•             Secretary Jeff M. Witte - New Mexico Department of Agriculture; Las Cruces, NM

•             Amy Wolfe – AgSafe; Escalon, CA

•             James E.  Zook - Michigan Corn Growers Association and Corn Marketing Program of Michigan; Lansing, MI

For further information:

Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Committee (FRRCC) website:

General information on federal advisory committees at EPA: