Welcome to the TPSA Adviser Newsletter!
Get to Know EPA’s Thomas Lopiano
While Thomas Lopiano has been an active TPSA member since December 2020, it’s possible that many members still haven’t had the pleasure of meeting him. Thomas is an Environmental Protection Specialist working in EPA’s Certification and Worker Protection Branch. He began his career with the EPA in November 2020, and immediately began serving as ex officio director representing EPA on the TPSA board. He participated on the Annual Conference planning committee as well. Prior to his employment at the EPA in Washington, D.C., Thomas worked in Cambodia and Kosovo. He also worked as a zookeeper which sparked his interest for environmental law and policy.
Thomas grew up in the Catskill Mountains in Upstate New York, where he developed an interest in the environment. He attended The State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse graduating in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in environmental biology. While working at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, it was conversations with guests that inspired him to pursue his master’s degree. Thomas concluded that a practical way to get involved in conservation efforts was to focus on advocacy and policy work.
“Working with the animals was amazing but I realized that I wanted something more. It was great to work on biodiversity education and get to do hands-on conservation work, but I soon became interested in the bigger picture and decided I wanted to work on advocacy and conservation more broadly. I had taken a few policy courses while completing my bachelor’s and decided to pursue a graduate degree focusing on environmental law and policy”. Shortly after receiving his bachelor’s degree, he enrolled in a graduate program and earned his master’s degree in environmental law and policy from the Vermont Law School in South Royalton, Vermont.
After graduation, Thomas spent a year in Phnom Penh, Cambodia with Vishnu Law Group, a Cambodian public interest law firm, working on the development of a comprehensive set of environmental laws for the Environment and Natural Resources Code of Cambodia. His primary duties involved legal research, drafting and editing of the governance Code, while participating in various workshops and meetings with the Cambodian Ministry of Environment. Vishnu Law Group also partnered with local community NGOs on environmental and land rights issues. Thomas provided assistance to these partner organizations with their grant work.
Prior to COVID-19, Thomas spent almost a year in Kosovo as a Peace Corps Volunteer working on Community Organization Development. He primarily worked with Let’s Do It Peja!, a non-governmental organization (NGO). There he collaborated with youth interested in environmental topics. Thomas worked to establish best practices for project planning and design as well as co-planning and co-designing projects that would benefit the environment and the youth of Kosovo. Thomas was able to standardize the grants process and used grant writing as a tool to develop professional English language skills of the NGO workers. While Thomas’s native language is English, he’s also conversational in French and Albanian.
Thomas says working at EPA has been a great experience. He enjoys interacting and collaborating with the incredible people there, all while utilizing his knowledge of policy and law as it relates to science and the environment.
Thomas has had an interesting history working with various species of hoof stock, tigers, gray wolves, red wolves, and red pandas. When asked what has been the best or most rewarding part of his career, without hesitation Thomas says it’s his coworkers. “I feel very blessed to have worked with people who are extremely passionate and knowledgeable. Being able to see them in action and learn from them is something I cherish deeply.”
In his spare time, Thomas greatly enjoys being outside whether hiking, kayaking, or just reading a book in the park. He appreciates the proximity of Shenandoah National Park to Washington, D.C. for short breaks from the city.
When asked about TPSA, Thomas says he’s excited to learn more about the organization and become more involved. He looks forward to getting to know the members better and meeting everyone in person at the next TPSA Annual Conference in Reno.
TPSA Treated Seed Taskforce Offers Disposal Guidance
Proper disposal of treated seed can be challenging. These issues can be helped just by knowing the right person to call. TPSA has taken steps to assist this process.
The Treated Seed Taskforce was created by the TPSA Board of Directors to establish TPSA as an objective resource and consolidation forum for regulatory, compliance, and stewardship information related to the disposal of treated seed. The taskforce’s purpose is:
- to offer a forum for constructive discussion
- to serve as an information resource on current regulations and best practices
- to provide information regarding disposal options for treated seed
In doing this, TPSA can address a critical and time sensitive issue that is important to its members and the greater agricultural community.
How the Taskforce began
In February 2021, the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy ordered the closure of an ethanol plant due to environmental violations. The plant had been receiving treated seed for the purpose of producing ethanol, thereby providing a disposal option for unused treated seeds.
This closure received widespread attention. Stakeholders from across the agricultural community became keenly aware of the need to more easily determine how to properly manage and dispose of pesticide treated seeds. It became apparent that TPSA was the ideal forum to begin this discussion.
To form the Taskforce, TPSA reached out to its membership and other agriculture associations that foster best management practices and stewardship, as well as provide reliable information that benefits and supports the agriculture industry. Taskforce membership is comprised of representatives from departments of agriculture, universities, state regulatory agencies, seed trade associations, seed and chemical manufacturers, and agriculture retail associations.
The following entities participate on the TPSA Taskforce: Nebraska Department of Agriculture, University of Nebraska, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Iowa State University Extension Program, North Carolina Department of Agriculture, Bayer Crop Science, Corteva, Syngenta Crop Protection, Tri-Rinse, Clean Earth Environmental Solutions, Heritage Environmental Services, Washington State Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Retailers Association, American Seed Trade Association and Crop Life America.
The makeup of the Taskforce brings a diverse spectrum of knowledge and professionalism to the discussion of proper treated seed management.
The initial goal of the Taskforce was to gather reliable contact information in each of the top 10 U.S. corn producing states. By knowing the appropriate starting point, a producer, a seed manufacturer, an agricultural association, a distributor, or anyone can then obtain needed information about regulations and disposal options in his or her respective state. The Taskforce is proud to announce that this goal was completed and has resulted in the development of a Treated Seed Life-Cycle Management Guidance Map, which can be found on the TPSA website at https://tpsalliance.org/resources/treated-seed-disposal-map/
A simple click on a state provides contact information regarding disposal options in that state. The TPSA Treated Seed Guidance map compliments the American Seed TreatmentAssociation’s, “Guide to Seed Treatment Stewardship”, by providing state specific resource information.
The TPSA Board of Directors and the Treated Seed Taskforce members realize the issue of proper treated seed management isn’t limited to corn seed or the top corn producing states. The next goal of the Taskforce is to gather and input the resource information for each of the remaining 40 states.
2023 TPSA Annual Conference • February 7-9
Whitney Peak Hotel
255 N Virginia St,
Reno, Nevada 89501
More information on the 2023 Annual Conference to be available in the Fall.
July 2022 Board of Directors Meeting in Indianapolis
The Pesticide Stewardship Alliance Elects 2022 Leaders
The Pesticide Stewardship Alliance (TPSA) recently elected the board of directors for 2022, including officers and four members to serve on the board.
Back row L to R: Jennifer Thomasen, Michelle Wiesbrook, Jack Ranney, Wendy Sue Wheeler, Angela Martin, Becky Roark, Nicole Jansen, and Melissa Rosch
Front row L to R: Kimberly Gilbert, Rachel Bomberger, Renee Woody, and Glenn Magley
TPSA 2022 Conference Highlights – San Antonio
Ed Messina – Director, EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs
EPA’s Pesticide Programs Updates
The Conference included informational sessions on:
- Standardized Industry Closed Transfer Systems (CTS)
- Disposal Program Liability When the Contractor Serves as the Generator
- UAV Pesticide Application: Benefits and Fit Into the Current Regulatory Framework
- Early Detection of Dicamba and 2.4-D Using High-Resolution Hyperspectral Imager, LeafSpec
- Common Pitfalls in Bulk Pesticide Refilling
- Pollinator Protection: United Messaging Panel Discussion
- Butterfly Decline in the Western U.S.
The Pesticide Stewardship Alliance Presents 2022 Awards
Program Innovation Award – University of Illinois Pesticide Safety Education Program (PSEP) Team
Michelle Wiesbrook, Maria Restrepo-Turner, Jean Miles, Matt Gill, Travis Cleveland, and Sarah Hughson
Read more about this award – https://tpsalliance.org/the-pesticide-stewardship-alliance-presents-2022-program-innovation-award/
Becoming a Member of TPSA
TPSP membership offers many benefits including access to conference presentations. Members also receive reduced conference fees and have the opportunity to get involved in the administrative and policy functions of TPSA through committees and projects.
- Individual $75
- Organization $200 (up to 3 individuals)
- Retired $35
- Student $25
Annual TPSA Membership Cycle is from September 1 to August 31.
Be sure to check out the TPSA homepage for the member benefits video featuring 4 of our members.