DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency plan to tour two Iowa farms and a biodiesel plant Tuesday to discuss conservation and land restoration initiatives with farmers.
Vilsack, a former Iowa governor, said the two agencies work closely together on farm-related issues and the trip will give EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson a change to hear first-hand from farmers about their concerns and challenges. It also will give farmers a chance to hear about what the EPA is doing from Jackson, he said.
"I think it's very important for the farming community to hear firsthand what is going on there," Vilsack said.
He said it's the first time he and Jackson have been able to travel together to meet with farmers.
They plan to visit a livestock farm near Pleasantville, southeast of Des Moines. Then they will tour the REG Newton LLC biodiesel plant near Newton before visiting a crop farm near Prairie City.
Vilsack said Tuesday's visit will help dispel misconceptions about the EPA wanting to tax livestock emissions, regulate farm dust and fine dairy operations over spilled milk.
"I think it's a great opportunity for us and the EPA to clarify the message because it's easy for people to misconstrue what the EPA is up to," Vilsack said.
Telephone and e-mail messages left for Jackson or her representative Monday were not immediately returned.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.