The appointment of former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was met with predictable cheers from energy entrepreneurs and jeers from some environmental advocacy groups.
For U.S. agriculture, trade is a big deal. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) data show that the U.S. exports about 20 percent of all agricultural output both in terms of volume and in terms of dollars.
Agricultural regulation is an important issue for rural America. The Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are the primary regulators affecting the food supply chain from farm to fork. For row crop and cattle producers that dominate the landscape of the Great Plains, the EPA’s rules have the biggest direct effects. While these regulations are designed to provide many benefits, they come at a cost. Individual regulations are evaluated on cost/benefit grounds prior to implementation, but the costs of the overall regulatory burden on agriculture are not well understood.
The change in presidential administrations is likely to usher in a new set of policy ideas and proposals. In the case of food and agriculture, the new president does not have to look far, as prominent food writers have already been making an aggressive case to retool the way the federal government regulates food and the farm.
I have written several articles outlining the enormous impact on Oklahoma’s economy that could result from moving agricultural acreage currently committed to the stock bulk crops (such as wheat and corn) to high-value vegetable, melon, and potato crops.
For many years agricultural experts have discussed this possibility of moving high-value crop production that currently favors state like California and Florida to those states that now produce the bulk crops like grain. The Midwest is an ideal location.