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Agrimarketing : March 2009
: CropLife America 2009INDUSTRYOVERVIEW issues that potentially impactour industry. Name: JayVroom Title: Pres/CEOCropLife America (CLA) Career: Prior to joiningCLA in 1989, he had served in executivemanagement for the National FertilizerSolutionsAssociation, Merchants Exchange, and The Fertilizer Institute. Education:Graduatedwith honors fromthe University of Illinois’College of Agriculture. AM:What areCLA’smajor priorities? JV:With a newadministration in the WhiteHouse, it’s important thatwe maintain the strong regulatory rela- tionships and proactive coordination that has resulted in successful past collaboration. There’sanincreasedfocusonsus- tainableagriculture,andwe’llwork to underscoreagriculturalpractices whichconservebothlabor andfuel resources, reducesoilerosion, enhance soilandwaterquality,while sequester- ing carbon. Amajorpriorityis toensure the U.S.maintains a science-based approachinevaluatingpotentialpesti- ciderisks.TheEuropeanUnion’s recentdecisiontoonly evaluatepesti- cides onthebasisofhazardrather than risk couldresult insignificantnegative impacts onagriculturewithout achiev- ingmeaningfulbenefits for either humanhealthor the environment. Similar legislationherewouldbedisas- trous, contributing to evenhigher food prices, just asU.S. consumersarestrug- glingwiththe economic effects of a worseningrecession. Ensuring an accurate viewof the safety of these pesticides,when used properly, is paramount.Wewill advocate continued regulatory guid- ance based on theU.S. risk standard of reasonable certainty of no harm, tailored to each product. AM:Howhavethosepriorities changed? JV:Our industry—aswell as the American farmer—more fre- quently finds itself in the defensive position against unwarranted attacks on the safety and necessity of our products. 66 AgriMarketing s March 2009 What shouldn’t be lost in the debate is that these products— fungicides, herbicides and insecti- cides—have enhanced both the environment and our quality of life. Without the industry’s technological advances,wewould see hundreds of millions of acres lost in production, increased soil erosion, the decline of grasslands and forests and the extinc- tion of species as invasiveweeds take over natural habitats. Our primary priority remains to support safe and sustainable food and fiber production through innov- ative, safe and environmentally sound crop protection technologies, thereby securing an abundant and affordable food supply for our con- sumers here and globally. AM:What is your impressionof the new Administration? JV:We anticipate amuchdifferent operatingscenario fromEPAandthat willmake certainthatEPAmatters receive our full attention. Inaddition,we expect thatCon- gresswillmakefoodsafety ahighpri- ority.Wearewatchingdevelopments andengaging early onthis issue to ensurethepotential impacts to agricul- ture andthe cropprotectionindustry areunderstoodandappropriately addressed. Webelieve thenewadministra- tion’s statedpledgeof transparency andopenness shouldbenefitour industry,providingpositiveopportu- nities tofurtherour cooperative rela- tionshipwithEPAandwithotheragen- ciesonkeylegislativeandregulatory AM:Howhas theindustry changed? JV:Certainly,the importance of sus- tainability has refocused the industry. The health of soil andwater resources is critical toAmerican agriculture and conserving these natural resources is necessary inmaintaining a strong agricultural economy and an afford- able, abundant food supply. Oneway the cropprotectionindus- try isprotectingsoilproductivity is throughtheuse ofherbicides. By controllingthegrowthofweeds,herbi- cides reduceboththeneedandfre- quencyof fieldtillagewithmachinery. This “conservationtillage” conserves bothlabor andfuel resources andposi- tively impacts the environmentby reducingsoil erosion, increasing organicmatter insoils andimproving waterqualitywhileusingless energy. Inadditiontousingpesticides for farmlandpreservation, anincrease in theneedtomanufacturealternative fuel sources, like cornbasedethanol, has ledto greaterusageof cropprotec- tionproducts.The latter is essential to meetingescalatingfoodandfoodcon- sumptionneedswhichrequiremore efficient cropproduction. Our industry has been able to meet these changes, in part, because of the extensive investment our member companiesmake in research and development. The result ismore effective pesticide products that are environmentally sound and benefi- cial overall to agricultural systems. AM:Howdoes the future look? JV:The fundamentals ofAmerican agriculture remain as sound as ever. CLAand itsmembers remain opti- mistic.Weexpect that agricultural exports to developing countrieswill continue to growaswill the produc- tion of renewable energy sources fromplantmaterial. Pesticide innovations,will play a major role inmeeting the needs of the global economy.Investment in exten- sion and pesticide benefits outreach programswill also likely grow, ensuring access and safe use of crop protection products. AM