CLA Talks Innovation, Sustainability and Policy in the Current Political Climate

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Earlier today, CropLife America (CLA) President and CEO Jay Vroom and CLA Senior Vice President and General Counsel Rachel Lattimore spoke to an audience of representatives from around the agriculture community on agribusiness in the current political climate. The event, hosted by Barnes & Thornburg in Indianapolis, Indiana, took an in-depth look at Emerging Trends and Opportunities in the Agricultural and Food Industries.

During his presentation, Vroom spoke to the overall agricultural trends he has observed during the transition to a new administration and addressed the importance of continuing to support innovation in rural America. “Technological advancement drives farm productivity. Due largely to innovation in farming equipment and products, U.S. farmers have increased yields of corn by 380 percent and soybeans by 990 percent since 1960,” he stated. “The U.S. government’s focus on intellectual property protection and a science-based regulatory system ensures continued investment in new technology that enables farmers to grow robust crops on less land, promoting environmental sustainability.”

Farmers, the original conservationists, are increasingly leveraging new technologies — including variable rate control equipment, guidance systems, and soil testing and monitoring software — to better protect their land for future generations of farmers. “Sustainability is more than just a slogan for U.S. farmers,” Vroom said. “Thanks to highly advanced tools, farmers now have metrics to show U.S. farm production is the most protective of biodiversity and economically sustainable in the world.”

Vroom focused on a couple of important policy issues currently facing agribusiness. “U.S. agricultural exports are a major contributor to our country’s GDP and are essential to the success and survival of American farms. I am encouraged by the ag trade team that the Trump Administration has assembled,” he said. “The team is poised to make great new strides in increasing market access for the U.S. farmer.”

Vroom also addressed the need for a fix for the Endangered Species Act (ESA). “Requirements in ESA have greatly impeded the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to complete their missions. The current process makes it impossible for them to efficiently review new products and re-examine older products used by farmers,” he continued. “It’s time for government to resolve this conundrum and restore some sanity to the process of protecting endangered and threatened species.”

Lattimore spoke on similar themes saying, “The continuing conflict between the ESA and federal pesticide laws causes litigation, product approval delays and grower uncertainty. The courts will not solve this problem. We need a better approach.” On the issue of regulatory reform, she added, “Our members are supportive of EPA getting back on a science-based track and providing growers with more certainty about the tools they need. At the same time, CLA is taking a close look at proposals around regulatory reform. We don’t want the regulatory process to slow down to such a pace that reform itself causes market uncertainty.”

If you have ideas or concerns on how to move U.S. farming forward, get involved now with the conversation online with #FoodForward and #GiveaCrop. CLA actively engages with consumers, food bloggers, farmers, chefs, foodies, journalists and others interested in food production on social media, including FacebookTwitter and Instagram. For more information on how farmers use crop protection technology to grow healthy food, visit www.GiveaCrop.org.

Michael Leary