According to Illinois farmer Kate Danner, developing strong relationships with the new leadership at the Environmental Protection Agency will be an important goal for the Production Technology Access Action Team (PTAAT) of the National Corn Growers Association in 2021.
Danner, 2021 chairperson of PTAAT, says, “modern farming is a complicated, sophisticated and constantly changing profession. So, we will take a proactive approach to work on farmers' behalf, defending technology tools but also promoting steps that can be taken to improve the public dialogue.”
Making sure farmers have access to crop protection products that have proven to be safe and effective is critical to economic viability. In many cases, these products allow growers to use farm management practices that are better for the environment. Danner says PTAAT can play a key role in developing strong relationships with EPA and making sure farmers' voices get heard.
“A lot of the work we do revolves around reviews and relicensing of technology. It often involves formal comments to agencies like EPA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. NCGA coordinates that but also makes sure farmers have an opportunity to tell their story and stand up and be counted when it matters,” said Patty Mann, vice-chairperson of PTAAT and an Ohio farmer. “There will be opportunities for our team in the year ahead to make a difference for farmers.”
Raising awareness of the importance of protecting and supporting pollinators like honeybees and monarch butterflies will continue to be a front-burner issue for Corn Growers as well. NCGA is an active participant in several industry groups working on collaborative solutions for pollinator health on or near agricultural lands. The organization works with farmers to facilitate developments or expansion of pollinator habitat.
Although the monarch was not placed on the endangered species list late last year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will continue to review annually its potential status as threatened or endangered and may decide to list it in the future.