Ken Cook

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Ken Cook, president and co-founder of Environmental Working Group (EWG), was a principal architect of provisions of the 1985 farm bill that shifted U.S. farm policy from a narrow focus on maximum crop production to include conservation of land, water, wetlands and wildlife. The legislation was widely regarded the most important environmental farm policy reform in decades. In the 1990s, EWG’s research was a major factor in the passage of the landmark pesticide reform law, the Food Quality Protection Act. EWG was among the first to draw attention to the health threat posed by the weed-killer atrazine and conducted the first extensive tests for the chemical in tap water in 29 cities.

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Editor’s note: The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced this week that it is seeking public comments on a proposal for a nationwide research and promotion fee program to be paid by producers and handlers in the organic industry. Ken Cook of the Environmental Working Group wrote this opinion piece, which was originally posted on on Jan. 17, 2017. Organic producers and handlers would pay one-tenth of 1 percent of net organic sales under the check-off program. To read…