The 2014 CropLife America (CLA) and RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment) Spring Conference begins a variety of panel discussions on policy and regulatory issues relevant to both the crop protection and specialty pesticide industries. For social media updates from the event, follow on Twitter with the hashtag #SC14. The complete conference agenda is available online at http://www.croplifeamerica.org/2014-Spring-Conference.

More than 60 expert panelists representing growers, federal regulatory agencies, crop protection companies, consulting firms and state departments of agriculture, will address priority issues shared by the crop protection and specialty pesticide industries. Topics of discussion include endangered species protection, pollinator health, pesticide labeling challenges, responsible pest management in urban environments and more.

Dan Gardner, prominent journalist and author of Risk: The Science and Politics of Fear, will give a keynote presentation during the opening general session, followed by remarks from Phil Karsting, administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service. Gardner will address risk perception and assessment as they impact decision making. Karsting’s presentation will describe the landscape for international trade of agricultural products from the U.S.

“During the Spring Conference, we are addressing science-based risk assessment, which serves as the foundation of pesticide regulation in the U.S.,” commented Jay Vroom, president and CEO of CLA. “As the U.S. continues to participate in global trade negotiations to facilitate increased trade of agricultural goods and products, it is important that we support the impacts of risk-based regulatory decision making on an international scale.”

Aaron Hobbs, president of RISE, said, “Our annual spring regulatory conference addresses current and emerging regulatory and policy opportunities, providing a great venue to advance discussion and science. Risk assessment is at the heart of our regulatory process and this year’s conference definitely delivers in advancing the conversation around science.”

The 2014 Spring Conference also marks the second year of the CLASS! (CropLife America for Student Success) program. During a luncheon this afternoon, nine students who are currently involved in agricultural studies at universities around the U.S. will discuss the risks and rewards they envision as future leaders in agriculture. The students are part of the conference due to generous sponsorship by FMC Corporation, and through the support of Agriculture Future of America (AFA).

“CropLife America was pleased to introduce the inaugural CLASS! during last year’s Spring Conference, and we are thrilled to have another bright and energetic group of students be part of the 2014 Spring Conference,” noted Dr. Barb Glenn, CLA’s senior vice president of science and regulatory affairs.

The event began on April 9 with optional tours of Willard Agri-Service in Mount Airy, Md. and Butler’s Orchard in Germantown, Md. To learn more about CLA, RISE and the benefits of pesticides, visit http://www.croplifeamerica.org/ and http://www.pestfacts.org/.