Messages for Modern Agriculture Need Motivation

TUCSON – Speaking at the 24th anniversary Annual Meeting of RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment)®, the association for the specialty pesticides industry, CropLife America (CLA) president and CEO Jay Vroom described the progress the pesticide industry has made in communicating the benefits of modern agriculture to various audiences in recent years. “RISE has been a leader with the ‘Debug the Myths’ communications outreach program and its many issues iterations, while CLA has led on agriculture issues discussing the benefits of modern agriculture. Together, we have refined our messages, helped our numerous messengers step up and speak out, and provided our allies with tools and resources to be stronger partners. We have both come a long, long way in just a few years,” Vroom noted. “One of our best successes has been communicating the benefits of agricultural technology, which is a message that resonates with consumers and policymakers alike.”

However, Vroom noted that the work of both organizations is just beginning. “We continue to contend with targeted, and sometimes surprising, emotional opposition to modern agriculture,” Vroom continued. “Some of our most challenging communications opportunities are around those message points that are slow-moving, steady and subtle. One example is the prevalent ‘organic versus conventional’ argument that continues to take place in the media, the grocery store and around the kitchen table. While these messages often strike against modern agriculture technology and innovation, I challenge the industry to respond at each opportunity with facts: modern agriculture tools and technology allow U.S. farmers to feed 145 more people today than 80 years ago, bring more healthy produce to more communities across the country, and reduce the strain on our delicate and finite natural resources.”

CLA’s Tell Me More initiative 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. From posters to infographics to monthly newsletters, Tell Me More promotes honest discussions about crop protection as the first step to understanding consumer concerns and helping those within the industry communicate key messages.

“We have the opportunity each day to respond to misinformation about modern agriculture. For instance, the packaging on a brand of yogurt served at this event claims no ‘toxic pesticides’ are used by their dairy farmer suppliers. I challenge those within the crop protection industry to take every occasion to respond, in face-to-face conversation or social media, and dispel commonly held myths about pesticides and why farmers use them. Whether it’s a discussion about labeling or crop protection, we need to level the playing field and that begins with speaking up!” Vroom concluded.

For more information on Debug the Myths, visit www.debugthemyths.com/, and for more information on Tell Me More, visit http://tellmemore.croplifeamerica.org/

Michael Leary