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What They Are Saying: EPA Administrator Wheeler Appoints New Members to the Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Federal Advisory Committee

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WASHINGTON (June 18, 2020) — Yesterday, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the appointment of thirty-three members to the Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Committee (FRRCC). 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. Here's what stakeholders and elected officials are saying:

U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (ND): “Congratulations to Dennis [Haugen] on this appointment and thanks to Administrator Wheeler for making an excellent pick. I recommended Dennis because he understands the needs of North Dakota’s agricultural community, and I know he will represent our state well.”

House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Mike Conaway (TX-11): “I am encouraged by EPA’s decision to reconvene the Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Advisory Committee. The rule-making process at EPA undoubtedly benefits from input provided by the very communities that are directly affected by these decisions. Agricultural leaders like the incoming advisory committee chairman, Tom McDonald from Dalhart, TX and member Stacy Smith from Newhome, TX, will provide important context for the dedicated professionals and scientists at the agency as they make critical decisions that promote American agriculture while protecting human health and the environment.”

House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Ranking Member Frank Lucas (OK-03): “Encouraged to see that my fellow Oklahomans John Collison and Jimmy Kinder have appointed to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Committee (FRRCC). This committee was created so that farmers and rancher’s voices would be heard at the EPA and with this announcement we can be sure that the FRRCC will have an Oklahoma perspective.”

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (AR-04): “Simply put, America’s basic survival depends on the success of American farmers. Unfortunately, federal agencies don’t always have avenues to hear about agricultural issues when crafting policy. The Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Committee will be a huge asset for the EPA by giving insight into the real, daily issues American farmers are facing. I’m particularly glad to see Tyson Foods represented on the committee – their company plays an integral role in Arkansan and American agriculture. My thanks to Administrator Wheeler for his proactive, creative approach to hearing from the American people!”

House Oversight and Reform Committee, Environment Subcommittee Ranking Member James Comer (KY-01): “With the selection of Sharon Furches and Davie Stephens of Western Kentucky for this important EPA advisory committee, the interests of agriculture will have a strong seat at the table when it comes to making environmental decisions. I am tremendously proud to see two constituents with strong farm backgrounds serving in this important role, and know that they will be a powerful voice for rural America.”

U.S. Congressman Roger Marshall (KS-01): “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,” said U.S. Congressman Roger Marshall, M.D. “I am proud to see two Kansans, Jesse McCurry and Bill Pracht, have been named to the committee and trust they will carry with them the thoughts and concerns of all of Kansas agriculture. It is important farmers and ranchers continue to have a seat at the table and I am excited to see this committee begin its work.”

U.S. Congressman Doug LaMalfa (CA-01): “No one understands agriculture better than farmers and ranchers. The reinstatement of the Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Committee (FRRCC) will ensure that ag stakeholders’ voices are heard at the EPA. I thank Administrator Wheeler and President Trump for staying committed to bettering rural America and valuing the perspectives of those who are most impacted by agriculture decisions.”

U.S. Congressman Dan Newhouse (WA-04): “Decisions from EPA have significant impacts on the rural communities and agriculture industry of Central Washington,” said Rep. Newhouse. “Michael Crowder has a unique and extensive understanding of how farmers, ranchers, and other conservationists in our district have been making strides for clean air and water, effective land use, and an overall healthier environment. I am proud he will be representing the voices of Central Washington, and I applaud Administrator Wheeler for reinvigorating this important Committee for rural areas across our country.”

Kenneth E. Wagner, Oklahoma Secretary of Energy & Environment: “We are thrilled that Administrator Wheeler has recognized our long history of environmental stewardship by Oklahoma farmers and ranchers by appointing John H. R. Collision and Jimmy Kinder to the FRRCC.  Oklahoma is committed to feeding the world by using responsible agricultural practices while conserving the land and water for future generations.” 

Dr. Barb Glenn, CEO, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture: “We appreciate the opportunity for state department of agriculture perspectives to be leading dialogue within the EPA’s Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Federal Advisory Committee.  As co-regulatory partners with EPA, NASDA supports collaboration with agricultural and rural stakeholders that will result in stronger protection of our valuable air, water, and land resources.” 

Zippy Duvall, President, American Farm Bureau Federation: “The Farm and Ranch Committee serves a critical role in advising the EPA on how the agency’s actions will impact the agriculture community. We appreciate Administrator Wheeler reconstituting the committee and for appointing Lauren Lurkins as the Vice-Chair. Lauren routinely works on a broad array of environmental issues and is a leader in environmental and conservation policy. As an Illinois Farm Bureau leader, Lauren’s experience will allow her to work with farmers and ranchers across the country, bringing important insight from rural America to the EPA.”

Chuck Conner, President and CEO, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives: “The appointment of Nicholas McCarthy, senior vice president for agronomy at Central Valley Ag Cooperative, to serve as a member of Environmental Protection Agency’s Farm, Ranch and Rural Communities Committee is an excellent choice that will strengthen the committee. In Nicholas, the FRRCC gains a member knowledgeable about both environmental policy and the unique role that co-op’s play in agriculture and rural communities around the country. This action is welcome news across the farmer co-op community.”

Dr. Gary Adams, President and CEO, National Cotton Council: “With these selections, the U.S. cotton industry and its priorities will be well represented on the FRRCC.”

Davie Stephens, Chairman, American Soybean Association: “It’s important that EPA have an amicable relationship with and seek the perspective of the industries they regulate to develop quality policy and regulation. That is especially true with our nation’s agricultural and rural communities. I commend Administrator Wheeler and the EPA for continuing to restore that relationship through the reinstatement of the Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Committee. U.S. farmers have a continued need to access a broad array of tools to keep growing safe, sustainable products, while remaining profitable and good stewards of the land. I am honored and excited to join this Committee and contribute soy growers’ perspective to conversations on how we can accomplish those goals through regulatory and environmental policies, which can have critical impacts on agriculture and our ability to farm.”  

Scott Yager, Chief Environmental Counsel, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association: “The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is very pleased with the strong complement of committee members who represent the beef cattle industry. Tom McDonald, of Five Rivers Cattle Feeding, has a long history and deep expertise in environmental and agricultural issues. Tom will provide resolute leadership to the committee as its new Chairman. Farmers and ranchers now have a seat at the table with our federal regulators thanks to President Trump and Administrator Wheeler.” 

For further information:

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

General information on federal advisory committees at EPA: