Speaking at the American Spice Trade Association's (ASTA) Annual Meeting, CropLife America (CLA) president and CEO, Jay Vroom, discussed the increasing importance of trade in agriculture and food goods, the commensurate need for improving regulatory harmonization and the importance of engaging others about the benefits of modern agriculture.
"There are many challenges American agriculture faces, such as changing weather patterns and a growing world population. While continued research and technological innovation can help us reach solutions to these obstacles, it is in our immediate power to work together as a collective industry to improve regulatory harmonization," Vroom said.
"Establishing a stronger, unified regulatory system will promote international trade and create jobs while ensuring the continued protection of consumer and environmental health."
Vroom referenced regulatory policies that attempt to weaken the science-based regulation of agricultural technology within the U.S. and abroad with misguided regulations that place added burdens on regulatory agencies, industry and the economy with little to no benefit to farmers, consumers or the environment.
From redundant Endangered Species Act reviews to the proposed European Union (EU) hazard-based crop protection product regulations, he emphasized that the agricultural industry has an opportunity to work together to build solutions to these challenges.
A key step in the continued advancement of modern agriculture is increasing communications outreach efforts with the public. ASTA is a member of CLA's newly formed Food and Beverage Committee along with approximately 12 other food and beverage organizations.
The group collaborates on issues related to regulatory harmonization as well as strategies that communicate the need for continuous innovation in agricultural science and technology. During his address, Vroom spoke about CLA's Tell Me More program, which highlights the benefits of modern agriculture through easily shared materials like infographics, posters and blog posts.
Vroom also urged meeting attendees to become involved with the Tell Me More Masters in Modern Agriculture (MMA) honorary degree initiative. The MMA program encourages participants from CLA member companies and allied organizations to speak up about agriculture issues and provides the facts needed to dispel common agriculture myths.
"One of the most powerful things we can do is talk to friends, colleagues and neighbors about how modern agriculture affects each aspect of their lives and benefits them in ways they hadn't imagined.
Honest discussions about crop protection are the first step to understanding consumer concerns and help us communicate our key message: farmers and ranchers use crop protection products to safely and sustainably produce food, fiber and fuel for communities across the country," Vroom concluded.
For more information about Tell Me More, visit http://tellmemore.croplifeamerica.org.