CropLife America Addresses Chemical Marketing and Economics Group

NEW YORK, N.Y. – The monthly luncheon of the America Chemical Society/Chemical Marketing and Economics Group today addressed the amazing progress of agricultural technology developed to meet world food demand. Speakers included Jay Vroom, president and CEO of CropLife America, and Iain Kelly, director of regulatory policy and issue management at Bayer CropScience.

Vroom reviewed the continued world population growth, currently projected to exceed 9 billion by 2050 alongside an expansion of the middle class and improved diets. As part of the discussion, Vroom addressed the question, “Can farmers keep up?” He offered an unequivocal response: “Absolutely, without question, farmer productivity can keep pace and ensure an adequate food supply. Given what’s known in the way of productive, science-based technology available today and in development, wise farm use of those inputs will indeed result in crop production that can meet demand.”

Vroom recognized that there are challenges to this situation. “Current farm commodity prices, which have fallen 50% or more in two years in some cases, are a sizable economic headwind for all involved in agriculture. Mostly this is a cyclical trend challenge that should pass, and better economic conditions should return,” he noted. “The other more formidable challenge has to do with the twin peaks of the regulatory process and public acceptance. Every day, science advances both new technologies and the ability to find miniscule residues of inputs and further analyze their potential risks. This, combined with pressure groups’ campaigns to scare the public about so-called unknown risks, enlarges the call for evermore precautionary regulatory approaches. When it comes to issues like pollinator health, endocrine disruption and water quality – to name a few – we all have an obligation to explain the facts and defend a risk-based system of scientific regulation.”

Vroom concluded his remarks with an overview of the present benefits of modern crop protection products. “It is not just farmers who gain from today’s crop protection technologies; consumers enjoy a wider array of affordable food choices plus year-round availability to fresh produce. And lots of jobs and export earnings for the US are also generated thanks to the super productivity of the American farmer.”

Michael Leary