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Agrimarketing : Crop Life America
4 AgriMarketing CropLife America Supplement SALUTE TO CROPLIFE AMERICA! CropLife America (CLA), a national trade association which represents virtually all the leading U.S. crop protection companies, has encoun- tered a remarkable mosaic of twists and turns during its 75-year history. The challenges and changes which CLA has managed include a con- stantly evolving landscape of indus- try companies and products, coupled with a mind-boggling array of public policy and communications issues attendant to modern crop protection tools. The Washington, D.C.-based group, which has had four different names since its 1933 inception in New York City, currently has 66 members, including basic pesticide manufacturers, formulators, and dis- tributors. Its annual budget is more than $9 million. CropLife activities run the gamut from Capitol Hill lobbying to litiga- tion to scientific task force coordina- tion to the endless task of studying, and responding to regulatory pro- posals from federal and, in some cases, state agencies. The group also communicates the benefits of pesti- cides to policy makers and the gen- eral public. The association's research and education affiliate, the CropLife Foundation, conducts a wide range of studies and message development in support of the crop protection industry. At the same time, CLA's companion organization, RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment), engages in various advocacy efforts on behalf of spe- cialty pesticides used in non agricul- tural markets --- for turf manage- ment, nurseries, landscaping, disease vector control and structural pest control to name just a few segments RISE represents. Allan Noe, Dir of Special Projects for CropLife and VP, Development for the CropLife Foundation, points out that CLA is in tune with crop protection issues and developments far beyond U.S. borders. "We have a global network under the umbrella of CropLife Interna- tional consisting of national associa- tions in more than 90 countries, including one of our newest affili- ates, CropLife China," Noe says. "This helps facilitate coordination of plant science goals and objectives throughout the world, including intellectual property protection." Considering the early CLA pre- decessor entities dealt with greater numbers of member companies in a different market era and simpler and fewer issues, it's clear the association has had to dramatically change the scope of its work to maintain its strong advocacy success record for the crop protection industry. CLA Pres Jay Vroom, who grew up on a family farm near Princeton, IL, and majored in agricultural sci- ence at the University of Illinois, has navigated through some of the most difficult of these changes dur- ing his nearly 20 years at the helm. "I started work at the associ- ation, then known as the National Agricultural Chemicals Association (NACA), barely three months before the 'Alar crisis' erupted," Vroom recalls. "Fortunately for me and the industry, member companies were already preparing for something big before I arrived. We quickly assem- bled a special Food Safety Task Force of the NACA Board, gathered our resources and prepared for what turned into quite a media storm." PIVOTAL YEAR "1996 was one of the most pivotal years in the crop protection industry's policy history," Vroom says. "It was the culmination of our success in staving off bad policy reactions from the Alar scare, and turning that into the most comprehensive pesticide reform legislative packages ever enacted. "Of course, even though this major environmental law, the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA), was passed without a single dissenting vote in either the House or Senate, it was still far from a perfect law. But again with strong support and involvement of farm groups and the food industry, coupled with a sound political set of relationships in the Clinton Administration and in Con- gress, we were successful in steering a reasonable implementation of a law that took ten years, until August 2006, to deploy." Vroom reports, "The experiences of working across broad and active coalitions which we built in dealing with passage of the Delaney Clause reform and all the rest of the provi- sions of FQPA ... and the ensuing work to ensure reasonable imple- mentation of that sweeping law, have forged the pathways for CLA to deal with a host of other significant issues challenging our members." He cites the challenges of the Endangered Species Act and Clean Water Act as examples of current issues that continue to be addressed by multifaceted coalitions which CLA helps lead. CROPLIFE AMERICA: ITS HISTORY AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS by the AgriMarketing Editors and Contributors
January February 2008