I was surprised to hear that Barry Dunn, president of South Dakota State University, will serve on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Agriculture Science Committee.
I didn’t even know that the EPA had an ag science committee. Its recent dust and water regulations didn’t seem to have anything to do with science.
Evidently, the ag science committee is really new. It was authorized in the 2014 Farm Bill and is just now getting up and going.
The Ag Science Committee consists of 20 members who will advise the EPA Science Advisory Board on scientific and technical issues that have a direct environmental impact on farming and agriculture-related industries. So they are advisers to advisers.
According to the EPA, Dunn's expertise in animal science and ranch and range management was a key factor in his selection. Dunn is apparently happy to serve.
"I am honored to have this opportunity and to serve in a capacity that will address some of the grand challenges facing our world today," Dunn said in a statement released by the EPA. "The effort to feed a growing world population through environmental and sustainable best practices is a discussion that has been ongoing and will continue to be at the forefront of the agricultural industry. I am confident my experiences and expertise will be valuable to this group."
Dunn began his two-year term in October. The EPA considered 88 candidates in the selection process that began in 2015.
"The expert guidance that we receive through our science advisory board members is an essential part of protecting public health and the environment," said Christopher Zarba, director of the EPA's Science Advisory Board staff office, in a statement. "We are excited to have Dr. Dunn on the EPA's Science Advisory Boards Agriculture Committee. His exceptional scientific qualifications and unique background and expertise make him an outstanding candidate to serve on the committee and to ensure the EPA is using only the highest-quality science to support its policies and decisions."
The South Dakota Farm Bureau said it was pleased that Dunn was named to the committee.
"The 2014 Farm Bill called for creation of this new committee to offer specialized advice to the EPA's Science Advisory Board on matters of agriculturally related sciences," said Scott VanderWal, SDFB president. "Dunn's wealth of expertise in animal science and ranch/range management will bring a commonsense voice to this organization. SDFB was honored to join the American Farm Bureau in providing letters of support for one of our state's proven leaders for this opportunity."
So it’s great that the EPA has created an Ag Science Committee and President Dunn is on it. But will the EPA listen to what the committee says? That remains to be seen.
Ag Science Committee members
Others besides SDSU President Barry Dunn on the EPA Agriculture Science committee are:
• Otto Doering III, chairman, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.
• Rita Abi-Ghanem, Bio Huma Netics, Gilbert, Ariz.
• Adell Brown, Southern University and A&M System, Baton Rouge, La.
• Kenneth Cassman, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Neb.
• Stanley Culpepper, University of Georgia, Tifton, Ga.
• George Czapar, University of Illinois, Urbana, Ill.
• Peter Dotray, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas
• Touria Eaton, Lincoln University in Missouri, Jefferson City, Mo.
• Peter Ellsworth, University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz.
• Nichole M. Embertson, Whatcom Conservation District, Lynden, Wash.
• Amirth S. Gunasekara, California Department of Food and Agriculture, Sacramento, Calif.
• Matthew J. Helmers,. Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa
• Kristen A. Johnson, Washington State University, Pullman, Wash.
• Catherine Kling, Iowa State University, Ames Iowa
• Andrew R. Kniss, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyo.
• Marty D Matlock, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Ark.
• Laura McConnell, Bayer CropScience Research, Triangle Park, N.C.
• James Pritchett, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colo.
• Thomas L. Richard, Penn State University, University Park, Pa.