More than Just a Hammer

Ag strategy

Industries have a natural tendency to fear government agencies. In the food processing industry, it is easy to associate these agencies with compliance problems, audits, strict regulations and fines. These agencies, however, have much to offer industries and a highly advantageous relationship for both parties is possible.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created its National Strategy for Agriculture in order to emphasize the Agency’s commitment to a strong partnership with the agriculture community to protect human health and the environment. According to Jon Scholl, Counselor to the Administrator for Agricultural Policy at the EPA, the EPA acknowledges that the issues facing the agricultural industry are complex, and deeply important to individuals involved in the industry. The EPA is “more than just a hammer in a tool box,” and is seeking to clearly establish itself as a producer of solutions, rather than a force to be feared.
One common complaint about government agencies is that often legislation is confusing. Two EPA programs that fall into this category in relation to the agricultural industry are The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act EPCRA. There has been much confusion in the poultry and livestock industries over whether the legislation applies to them.  


CERCLA, commonly known as Superfund, was enacted by Congress in December 1980. This law created a tax on the chemical and petroleum industries and provided broad Federal authority to respond to the releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances that could endanger public health or the environment. The program is an attempt to clean up the nation's uncontrolled hazardous waste sites. The program cleans up abandoned, accidentally spilled, or illegally dumped hazardous waste.


EPCRA was enacted in November 1986 to provide an infrastructure to plan for chemical emergencies. Certain reporting requirements were created for facilities that store, use, or release specific chemicals. Information is made available to inform the public about potentially dangerous chemicals in the community.
Recent court cases have highlighted concerns about the agricultural sector’s responsibilities under provisions contained in CERCLA and EPCRA. It is easy to see the potential confusion and concern within the poultry industry, as it appears that the legislation is geared more towards the chemical industries. Since CERCLA defines a hazardous substance as “any material EPA has designated for special consideration under the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act, or the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act,” it would appear that the legislation could apply to the poultry industry.
Understanding the repercussions this could have on agriculture, the EPA is considering actions that would clear up this confusion and facilitate better interaction between its agency and the poultry industry. This move will hopefully help continue to build a mutually beneficial relationship.

So why turn to evaporative cooling when there are other options? In today\rquote s industrial environment, few aren\rquote t concerned about cost and energy usage. The first thing that comes to mind for most people when climate control is discussed is air conditioning. Evaporative cooling, however, is far less expensive than AC. The use of a conventional AC system could cost up to ten times as much to install and maintain. Power usage on the typical farm during hot weather would also increase significantly.

In fact, according to Czarick, evaporative cooling is by far the least expensive method of reducing air temperature.

Czarick also reminds us that water is cheap. The aforementioned issues deal with peak water usage. When the birds are younger or when the weather outside is cool, water usage is considerably lower.