AgricultureRecently, in celebration of National Agriculture Day, US EPA Administrator Regan announced that US EPA had rechartered its Farm, Ranch & Rural Communities Advisory Committee (FRRCC).  Administrator Regan simultaneously announced a new charge topic for the FRRCC as well.

The FRRCC was developed in 2007 and focuses on providing policy advice, information, and recommendations to the US EPA Administrator on a variety of environmental issues and policies relating to agriculture and rural America.  Charge topics are announced approximately every two years, with the FRRCC’s newest charge topic set for years 2022–2024.

The FRRCC’s 2022–2024 charge is: “Advancing Climate Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for U.S. Agriculture.”  To address this charge, the FRRCC will consider US EPA’s available tools and programs and identify voluntary, incentive-based opportunities, public-private partnerships, and market-based approaches where US EPA can assist in advancing agriculture’s climate mitigation and adaptation strategies.  Typically, the FRRCC meets twice a year to discuss charge topics.  Based on past practice, it is likely that the FRRCC will spend 2022 analyzing the charge topic and will complete recommendations on the charge in 2023.  Nevertheless, the FRRCC will likely release an end of year report this year as it did in 2020, before it begins preparing recommendations on the charge topic (see here for an example of the 2021 recommendations).

The FRRCC’s 2022–2024 charge topic regarding climate mitigation and adaptation strategies at first glance appears broad, but the FRRCC is taxed with analyzing specific topics, including:

  • Alternative manure management systems and other methane reduction practices;
  • Improved quantification of greenhouse gas emissions reductions from low-carbon biofuels;
  • Climate and water quality co-benefits from nutrient management practices;
  • Strategies to achieve EPA and USDA’s goal of halving food loss and waste by 2030;
  • Research and regulatory responses to evolving pest pressures due to climate change; and
  • Water management and reuse strategies to address water scarcity.

While specific topics such as manure management, pest management, or decreasing food loss and waste are fairly specific to agriculture, the overall theme of the charge highlights the Biden Administration’s strong focus on implementing changes to mitigate risks associated with climate change.  This charge topic aligns with the Biden Administration’s goals for climate change issues such as establishing a methane emissions reduction action plan, GHG pollution reduction targets, and water reuse strategies.  As such, while the FRRCC’s new charge topic pertains only to agriculture, it reemphasizes the same environmental goals the Biden Administration has had since its very beginnings.