Jay Vroom, president and CEO of CropLife America (CLA), gave a presentation at the Minimum Risk Level (MRL) Roundtable sponsored by the California Specialty Crops Council. Speakers at the roundtable addressed important issues regarding exporting agricultural products, including crop protection technology. Participants included growers, packers, shippers, pest control advisers, crop protection registrants, government regulators, trade experts, and other stakeholders in international trade. During his presentation, titled, How Modern Agriculture Reduces Food Waste and the Role of MRL Harmonization, Vroom spoke to the importance of today’s highly advanced farming technology and how it is helping to decrease the amount of food produced for consumers that is wasted.
"Using today’s production technologies, farmers in the U.S. can produce high quality, affordable food that is more likely to make it to the consumer’s plate,” Vroom noted. “Whether helping farmers to judiciously control insects or manage fungal disease, crop protection products are helping growers reduce crop loss, while producing fruits and vegetables that have longer shelf-lives. Weed control can reduce plant stress and yield produce that is more robust, increasing the likelihood of it reaching your family’s table.”
Vroom continued, “Public awareness of food waste is increasing, and we need to ensure the farmer’s voice is heard. U.S. farmers have a great story to tell—not only about the contributions they already make to lower food loss, but also regarding what more can be done thanks to innovative agricultural technologies that are in development. Many consumers do not know these stories, so it is important to get the farmer’s voice into the dialogue.”
“The international trade of food and feed products grown and raised by U.S. farmers, who responsibly use crop protection technology, helps make the global food system more efficient,” Vroom stated. “But without the work of many in government, grower organizations, and the crop protection industry to advance the harmonization of crop protection MRLs, we lower the opportunity for trade and, in turn, create artificial contributions to food loss. Progress on pesticide MRLs directly and indirectly contributes solutions to food waste. The work of this roundtable is, at its core, helping consumers to reduce food waste.”
CLA has long been an outspoken advocate for fair trade agreements and the implementation of such agreements. Vroom offered a note of caution about trade in the 2016 presidential campaign. “ln all of the decades that we’ve engaged with so many of you to promote export market access for American farm production, we’ve never seen such a potentially toxic political environment for trade as we now see from so many presidential candidates. As we all know, trade is the answer to move agriculture forward, and we at CLA are working to reach out to candidates to tell the positive story about trade."
CLA encourages foodies, moms, chefs, growers, workers in the crop protection industry, and anyone interested in food production to get involved in the conversation on reducing food waste and crop loss online and interact with CLA on social media, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Use #ScienceOrSwat to engage in conversations about the importance of keeping science at the core of pesticide risk assessment crop protection tools. In addition, use #AgLoudAgProud to help promote your pride in the U.S. agricultural system. “We all can be part of the social media conversation—it’s only a tweet away,” Vroom stated.
"CLA’s affiliated foundation, CropLife Foundation, and its Crop Protection Research Institute are proud to announce the launch of our new project to advance modern ag solutions and messaging about food loss reduction. Please let us know how you would like to engage with us!" Vroom added.