Speaking during the annual meeting of the American Society of Agricultural Consultants (ASAC) in Alexandria, Va., CropLife America (CLA) president and CEO Jay Vroom discussed the role of ethics in agriculture.

Vroom emphasized that various sectors within the agricultural industry, including those responsible for manufacturing, distributing and using crop protection products, adhere to operating principles and guidelines that contribute to ethical practices.

"Your ASAC Code of Ethics is a great reminder that we are all held to high ethical standards in the food and agriculture sectors," Vroom said to meeting attendees.

"The crop protection industry follows the International Code of Conduct on Pesticide Management, developed by the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. This global outline of best practices for the development, use, storage and disposal of pesticide products contains many components of ethical behaviors and practices."

Vroom also analyzed several other industry practices that could intersect with an overarching ethics guide. During his presentation, he noted that CLA would like to work with ASAC and other organizations in order to better articulate shared values and commitments to ethical practices.

He said, "In recent years, we have focused efforts on proactive communications outreach to a variety of public audiences, and often reflect on the need show our commitment to issues including sustainability, worker safety and conservation. Adding an additional focus on ethics is another area for meaningful outreach."

CLA conducted an analysis of various codes of ethics offered by four U.S. organizations representing the agricultural consulting field, which illustrates the strengths and similarities of different approaches. CLA and ASAC have agreed to reach out to other organizations and related agribusiness sectors to continue a dialogue and locate areas of common ground with regard to agricultural ethics.

"We have a phenomenal commitment to ethical behavior in the American agricultural sector," Vroom concluded.

"Agricultural consultants, in particular, bring tremendous technical and market expertise to farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses, and your commitment to ethical activity further enhances the value you bring to all stakeholders.

"Now is an opportune time to look for ways to tie those activities and practices together so that all can communicate more clearly about the benefits and continuous progress that define modern agriculture," said Vroom.