ANALYSIS - “The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is working to build relationships with animal producers to facilitate sustainable agriculture,” said Jeff Potent, environmental protection specialist for the EPA’s Office of Wastewater Management, during the Animal Agriculture Sustainability Summit, at the 2014 International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta, Georgia, US, writes Carla Wright, Editor, 5m Publishing.
“At the EPA, sustainability is not our mission, per se, and we’re struggling to understand what that means for us,” said Mr Potent. “We need to listen to and work with stakeholders.”
The EPA came to IPPE “to broaden how we do business. We want to collaborate with the livestock industry. Regulations have their place; however, we want to improve relationships between the EPA and livestock producers. We need to work together on this path. There is no expert on sustainability that we can call up on the phone.”
“Manure management is a big challenge.”
To implement this focus on sustainability, the EPA has started an informal livestock discussion group, consisting of producers and the EPA centered on issues of material interest related to water quality.
The EPA will also hold a Best Conservation Practices conference, a Producers Recognition Programme and partnership projects with livestock shareholders that model new ways to protect water quality.
The EPA has two projects underway. It is producing a video with the United Egg Producers on best practices that can be implemented on poultry operations to reduce water quality impact. And, for pork producers, the EPA is working with Smithfield Foods and the North Carolina Pork Council on a record keeping training programme, with the first session to be held February 6th in Raleigh, North Carolina.
The EPA is also working with US Dairy and the National Cattleman’s Beef Association on how to make anaerobic digesters an economically viable and cost effective solution for manure disposal.
“Partnerships are critical to the EPA in order to find solutions,” concluded Mr Potent.
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