USDA Secretary Vilsack and EPA Administrator Jackson met with representatives of farm and commodity organizations to discuss current issues and concerns. This meeting was the third of its kind since last year.

Dr. Keith Menchey, the NCC’s manager of Science & Environmental Issues, represented the NCC at the well-attended meeting. He voiced the NCC’s support for USDA’s Office of Pest Management Policy, which acts as a liaison with EPA on pesticide issues.

Secretary Vilsack was quick to warn the group that, because of severe budget cuts to the department, some programs will have to be curtailed or eliminated.

Menchey raised for discussion with Administrator Jackson the issue of EPA’s recent concerns regarding the impact on bees of certain pesticide uses for cotton. He summarized a recent meeting that he and Dr. Don Parker, the NCC’s IPM manager, had with EPA staff at which Parker questioned the data available to support such concerns and offered the NCC’s assistance in obtaining necessary data. Jackson responded that the issue of bee colony collapse was a complex one that involves several factors including stress to the hives because of frequent transportation. She expressed appreciation for the NCC’s willingness to work with EPA staff.

Other topics that were discussed included renewable fuel standards, concentrated animal feeding operations, particulate standards, public perception of pesticides, nutrient management rules and water quality standards.