Representatives from the North Dakota Grain Growers Association traveled to Washington this week for the first EPA Reverse E-Tour. The delegation, led by North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, met with EPA officials to discuss environmental issues and policy affecting the state’s farmers during the trip from March 22 to 23.
Since 1993 EPA officials have been traveling to North Dakota for the NDGGA’s annual E-Tour, which highlights the environmental stewardship of North Dakota agriculture. NDGGA Southeast Region Director Brad Thykeson said the Reverse E-Tour is the organization’s way of repaying the favor. “It’s a great opportunity for us to cultivate relationships with EPA officials we met on the E-Tour,” he said. “They’ve seen things from our perspective, and now we’ve seen things from theirs, which really helps maintain an open dialogue when it comes to writing policy.”
During the two-day event, the delegation met with representatives from several EPA offices including Wastewater Management, Pesticide Programs and Resource Conservation and Recovery. NDGGA Southwest Region Director Ed Kessel said the tour provided valuable insights into the EPA’s process. “We were able to meet the people behind the policy and learn about everything that goes into their decisions. These decisions affect North Dakota farmers so it’s great that we’ll have a more personal relationship going forward,” he said.