CropLife America and RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment) executives and scientists, along with key decision makers from government agencies and top companies across the pesticide industry, met last week to discuss current and emerging priority regulatory and scientific issues important to crop protection, specialty pesticides and fertilizer use during the groups' annual joint Spring Conference, April 28-29.

The theme of this year's meeting, 'Growing Together to Meet Tomorrow's Challenges,' highlighted the industry's commitment to advancing essential crop and plant protection, public health and safety goals in an environmentally responsive manner.

"This year's spring conference advanced discussion on many issues important to both industry and the environment." said Jay Vroom, CLA president and CEO. "Our conference program this year illustrated the continual intersection of leading scientific and regulatory issues across both the agriculture and specialty pesticides industries. By working together, CLA and RISE ensure a cooperative effort to strategically meet the dual objectives of efficient, abundant crop production and plant protection along with protection of the environment so necessary to sustaining our country's agricultural goals."

"The conference was an excellent opportunity for sharing of ideas and questions important to the crop protection and specialty pesticide industry," said Allen James, president of RISE. "The products our members produce and distribute are essential to managing plant diseases as well as pests that pose serious health and safety risks to public health and the environment; threats that diminish both quality of life and environment."

Among the speakers at this year's conference was Dr. Debra Edwards, director, Office of Pesticide Programs at the Environmental Protection Agency, who noted in her remarks that the crop protection industry's focus "should continue to be on sound science." Edwards also commended advancements in technology and improved labeling that have contributed to reduction in spray drift as well as the industry's engagement in pollinator protection programs and efforts to resolve colony collapse disorder.

Jim Jones, acting assistant administrator for the Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances at EPA, followed Edwards' comments by emphasizing the need for Toxic Substances Control Act reform, something CLA actively advocates.

Eric Wintemute, chairman of CLA's Board of Directors, cited the work of the CropLife Foundation in establishing "very good data about the contributions of pesticides to crop yields and quality" as he opened the second day of the conference. Wintemute also lauded RISE for its work in spreading the message about the benefits of pesticides in protecting property and human health - particularly in controlling threats such as West Nile Virus and Lyme disease.

In addition to comments from representatives of the Environmental Protection Agency, conference attendees also heard from experts within the pesticide industry and related fields featured as panel participants on such topics as EPA's Endocrine Disruption Screening Program, risk assessment, endangered species, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits; and European Union regulatory directives. The conference concluded with round table discussions on state issues, electronic labeling, and spray drift.

CLA/RISE will next host their joint annual meeting September 25-29 in Orlando.

SOURCE: CropLife America.