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Arkansas rice farmer joins 37-member committee tasked with advising EPA on issues important to ag and rural communities.

Farm Press Staff

December 7, 2022

3 Min Read
Jennifer James.jpeg
Jennifer James, a fourth-generation rice farmer from Newport, Ark., will represent the rice industry and Midsouth growers as one of the newest members of the EPA’s Farm, Ranch and Rural Communities Federal Advisory Committee. Ginger Rowsey

Jennifer James, a rice farmer from Newport, Ark., has been appointed to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Federal Advisory Committee (FRRCC).  The FRRCC provides independent policy advice, information, and recommendations to the EPA Administrator on a range of environmental issues that are of importance to agriculture and rural communities. 

James is a fourth-generation farmer, operating alongside her husband, son, and her father; they grow rice, corn, and soybeans. 

The committee is comprised of 37 members that represent agriculture, allied industries, academia, and state, local, and tribal governments.  Committee members currently serve two- or three-year terms and can be reappointed for a limited time period. James is among 20 newly appointed members and was selected from a field of more than 85 applicants, joining 17 existing members of the committee.  

FRRCC members represent all 10 EPA regions and hail from 24 states. While the Delta is not a defined EPA region, James will join current member Jeff Gore, director of Mississippi State University’s Delta Research and Extension Center, as a voice for agriculture in the Delta.  

“The new appointees and our existing FRRCC members will provide invaluable insight and feedback on EPA’s programs as we partner with farmers and ranchers to address the impacts of the climate crisis,” said EPA Administrator Michael Regan. 

USA Rice nominated James this spring to serve on the committee as an industry champion on sustainability issues.  She has served as chair of the USA Rice Sustainability Committee since its inception in 2009 and currently serves as vice chair of the Arkansas Rice Farmers Board of Directors.  Additionally, she serves on both the USA Rice Federation and USA Rice Farmers Boards of Directors.  

“Jennifer is a tireless leader on all things sustainability for the rice industry and she has been able to balance her time to not only manage her own operation with her family, implementing innovative conservation practices, but also giving back to the industry as one of our most active members,” said USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward.  “Given her impressive résumé, Jennifer is an outstanding choice to represent U.S. rice industry interests in this advisory role to EPA.  We’re looking forward to using this connection to build on our own record as sustainability leaders amongst agricultural commodities.” 

What does FRRCC do? 

EPA established the FRRCC in 2007 to provide independent policy advice, information, and recommendations to the Administrator on a range of environmental issues and policies that are of importance to agriculture and rural communities. FRRCC is one of 21 federal advisory committees that provide input and recommendations to the Agency on a wide spectrum of environmental topics. The FRRCC committee generally meets twice a year in Washington, D.C. 

In March of 2022, the committee was specifically charged with advancing climate mitigation and adaptation strategies for U.S. agriculture. EPA tasked the committee to evaluate Agency policies and programs to determine which tools can best help farmers reduce emissions, sequester carbon, and accelerate a more resilient food and agriculture system.  

Topics EPA leaders would like to see the committee address include: 

  • 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  

  • Water management and reuse strategies to address water scarcity  

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