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Agrimarketing : March 2009
CROPLIFE AMERICA UPDATE CLA:VOICEOFTHEINDUSTRY T by Susan Helmick, Director of External Communications, CropLife America he necessity for crop protection technology—pesticides, includ- ing herbicides, insecticides and fungicides—becomes increasingly important, as production demands on farmers continues to escalate in order tomeet global renewable fuel, fiber and food needs.Acting as the voice of the crop protection industry, CropLife America (CLA) remains dedicated to ensuring thatAmerican farmers have continued access to these important agricultural tools. Numerous issues have CLA’s attention this year.Among others, ensuring our products continue to be evaluated on the basis of sound sci- (NPDES) Final Rule,which held that only some pesticideswould not requireNPDES permits as non- pollutants. In response, CLAfiled a petition asserting that the rule required expansion,maintaining that pesti- cides should not be classified as pol- lutants under the CWA, since they serve a beneficial purpose and are well regulated already by EPA’s Office of Pesticides (OPP). The Sixth Circuit U.S. Federal Court panel vacated the Final Rule in January, concluding the Rulewas an unrea- sonable interpretation of the Clean WaterAct (CWA).However, it AgriMarketingmagazine Editor’s note: Weed and insect control are essential tools for agricultural producers to raise a plentiful and nutritious food supply. In light of the newAdministration in the federal government,we invited the trade association that represents the manufacturers, distributors and formulators of these tools— CropLife America—to provide an update on the issues and opportunities they are seeing, andwhat they are doing about them. which serve other beneficial pur- poses besides agricultural uses— including protecting rights-of-way frominvasiveweeds, controlling dis- ease spreadingmosquitoes, and pre- venting plant diseases that attack ornamental plants—will continue to be used for their intended pur- poses under the CWA.Activity around the CWAwill be robust in the 111th Congress. TheHouse and Senate plan to revisit expanding theCWAbeyond the current lawdefinition of “navigable waters.” The initiative byCongress to establish a national oceans policywill also intersectwith existing environ- mental statues like theCWA. PESTICIDE BENEFITS ARemedy forWorldHunger and Climate Change The 2009 National Future Farmers of America officers (l to r) Regina Holliday; Riley Branch; Laila Hajji; Allen James, RISE; PaulMoya; Jay Vroom, CLA; Hannah Crossen; and Nessie Early during CLA’s inaugural reception. ence and that safe and approved pes- ticides remain accessible to farmers and other applicators. CLAwill also direct increased resources toward communicating themany benefits of pesticides essential to efficient and healthy crop production, global food security and climate change concerns. CLEANWATERACT Ensuring Continued Access to Essential Pesticides CLAis steadfastly focused on the CleanWaterAct (CWA)and its signifi- cance to agriculture interests, particu- larly the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA)National Pollutant DischargeElimination System agreedwith EPA’s assertion that not all pesticides should be classified as pollutants. The issue ofNPDES permits and theCWAwill take center stage in 2009 as questions over permitting require- ments for pesticide applications on, over or nearwater could hamper farmers’ abilities to apply pesticides. CWAambiguities leave uncertainties about themore indirect results of ben- eficial pesticide applications, such as spray drift. CLA’s LawCommittee is actively engaged in these issues and is confident that existingwell-defined regulations protect bothAmerica’s waters and its crops. CropLife remains committed to ensuring that pesticides,many of Given current economic conditions, it ismore important then ever that food and fiber remain affordable, something growerswould find diffi- cult to provide consumerswithout effective and reasonably-priced crop protection tools. Pesticides are the front-line weapons against pathogenicmicrobes which destroy crops and infect humans and animalswith disease. Without fungicide treatments, 95%of theU.S. grape cropwould rot,while 86%of apples, 62%ofwatermelons and 54%of peacheswould be seri- ously damaged by fungal pathogens. Pesticides provide tremendous and wide-ranging benefits at a relatively small cost. CLAis concentrated on commu- nicating the benefits of crop protec- tion products across several audi- (more on page 58) March 2009 s AgriMarketing 57