The Coming War On Agriculture

As the annual gathering for members of the ag retail community, the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) meeting is a great place to hear about the major challenges and opportunities facing the marketplace. I’ve written about several of the more high profile of these in recent columns.

However, there’s one topic I’ve not discussed yet. Part of the reason is that it didn’t come up as often as such topics as a downturn in fertilizer demand or questions about the next Farm Bill. But I believe it has the potential to dog the industry not only in 2014 but for many, many years to come.

What is this danger? One ag retailer I spoke with at ARA put it best: “I’m worried about the coming war on the way agriculture is done. There’s a dangerous disconnect between agriculture and the public and it could threaten many of the ways agricultural business is conducted.”

In many ways, this fight is already underway. For years, various special interest groups have spread their opinion that biotech crops are bad (despite scientific evidence to the contrary). In a similar manner, the regulations regarding farming near waterways and application procedures are becoming more strict.

Which topic do you expect will be the most active in 2014?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

And if industry insiders are to believed, ag retailers that handle crop nutrients are next on the list in part because of the aftermath of the West Fertilizer plant explosion. Likewise, as new cropping systems tied to crop protection products such as dicamba and 2,4-D enter the market, agriculture can expect even more scrutinity from regulators and the general public.

To combat these potential threats, it will be important to not only keep up with any activities in your areas regarding these topics, but stay in regular touch with your local, state and national trade groups. Otherwise, the problem will undoubtedly get worse before it gets better.

Leave a Reply

One comment on “The Coming War On Agriculture

  1. Eric hits the issue squarely. Ag has been experiencing multiple attacks from people who do not understand the industry, but worry about how the work is done. Our business is relatively visible, with large equipment operated on farms along highways and roads. Historically ag has relied on state and national trade associations to defend our work and the products we use to grow food and fiber (on lean budgets). We have witnessed the introduction of farmers learning to talk to the public about the way they work and care for animals and crops. These get positioned by the uninformed or malicious citizen activist as simply mouthpieces for the large ag business companies. I am becoming very concerned that our regulatory authorities, which conduct robust evaluations of the data in deciding that new technology and products meet a rigorous standard of ‘likely to not adversely effect human health or the environment’, are not doing enough to communicate this process to the public. Absent this, the public is left to hear only the fear-mongering. EPA and their State Lead Agencies which bear the mantle of managing the use of these products, need to step up their outreach education to the public. If they are not careful, the public will start to believe the activists and take the authority for managing these products to their local communities, with little scientific engagement or rigor.

Eric Sfiligoj Stories

Eric SfiligojCourt Rejects EPA Objection To Enlist Duo
February 1, 2016
It was pretty big news last fall when, just before Thanksgiving, the EPA attempted to withdraw its approval of Dow Read More
Soybean field
Eric SfiligojThe Biotech Crop Use Divide
February 1, 2016
A few years ago, I wrote a column speculating that the anti-biotech crop movement was beginning to lose some of Read More
Seed bags in warehouse
Eric SfiligojFeedback From IFCA: Growers Looking To Cut
January 25, 2016
For anyone paying attention to the agricultural marketplace lately, the numbers are ugly. Between 2014 and 2015, grower-customer income dropped Read More
Syngenta Sign
Eric SfiligojSyngenta In Play: Who Will Win the Prize?
January 18, 2016
Last week, while many business analysts watching in horror as global stocks tanked across the world, one agricultural company’s stock Read More
Top 100 Articles
Elburn Cooperative
CropLife 100Elburn Cooperative Members Vote To Join CHS
December 28, 2015
With 81% of eligible producers voting, 94% cast an affirmative ballot for Elburn Cooperative, a diversified agricultural retailer based out Read More
West Central Cooperative, Jefferson, IA
CropLife 100Farmers Cooperative-West Central Merger Approved
December 21, 2015
The members of Farmers Cooperative Co. (FC), Ames, IA, and West Central Cooperative, Ralston, IA, have both approved the merger Read More
Wheat Growers Innovation Center, Bath, SD
CropLife 100Wheat Growers Opens Innovation Center
December 21, 2015
Wheat Growers’ commitment in providing its farmer-owners with the latest in technological advancements now has a one-of-a-kind focal point, as Read More
CropLife 100ARA Selects The Andersons As 2015 Retailer Of The Year
December 9, 2015
The Agricultural Retailers Association today named Maumee, OH-based The Andersons as its Retailer of the Year for 2015. The award Read More
CPS Washington Court House John Deere Sprayer
CropLife 100Application Equipment Report: It Is Easy Being Green For Top 100 Ag Retailers
December 5, 2015
On The Muppets television show, Kermit the Frog is famous for singing a song about the troubles he encounters in Read More
Fertilizer Bin
CropLife 100Fertilizer Sales: Another Down Year For Top 100 Ag Retailers
December 4, 2015
In pure number terms, the fertilizer category still dominates all crop inputs/services among CropLife 100 ag retailers. In 2015, for Read More
Latest News
Crop Protection Products in storage
Crop InputsNewsweek: World Is ‘Awash In Glyphosate’
February 11, 2016
The world is awash in glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, produced by Monsanto. It has now become Read More
Crop InputsEPA: Let’s Talk Imidacloprid, Bees On February 18
February 11, 2016
EPA will hold an online technical briefing on its preliminary pollinator risk assessment for imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid insecticide, on Feb. Read More
ManagementThe latest on Syngenta-ChemChina Deal
February 11, 2016
Executive Editor Paul Schrimpf invites Jackie Pucci and Dave Frabotta from sister publication AgriBusiness Global to discuss the latest developments Read More
AdjuvantsUniversity of Illinois Confirms Adjuvant’s Perfor…
February 11, 2016
An independent University of Illinois study has shown that WETCIT adjuvant, now with TransPhloem technology, provides greater herbicide uptake and Read More
Crop InputsSyngenta’s Acuron Flexi Receives EPA Approval
February 11, 2016
Growers looking to control their toughest weeds with flexibility will have access to Acuron Flexi corn herbicide from Syngenta, now Read More
EquipmentAGCO Showcases White Planters 9800VE Series Planters AT…
February 11, 2016
AGCO unveiled the new White Planters 9800VE Series planter during the 2016 National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, KY. The Read More
EquipmentCase Unveils 2000 Series Early Riser Planter At NFMS
February 10, 2016
Case IH revealed the all-new 2000 Series Early Riser planter to media and attendees at the opening of the National Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsSyngenta: Keep Ag In Mind During Election Season
February 10, 2016
As presidential candidates stake out their 2016 election platforms and key priorities, growers and their business partners should seek opportunities Read More
Crop InputsMarrone Bio Innovations Submits New Bio-Fungicide For E…
February 9, 2016
Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. (MBI) today announced that it has submitted a new biological fungicide (MBI-110) to EPA. The broad spectrum Read More
Crop InputsWeed Expert: Adding A Second Herbicide Not Always Easy
February 9, 2016
In my last post, I reviewed some recent research that suggests one of the best ways to delay the evolution Read More
Crop InputsGenetic Literacy Project: Farmers Need More Herbicide C…
February 9, 2016
There are two things that I think just about every weed scientist can agree on, writes Andrew Kniss for The Read More
HerbicidesWeed Expert Warns North Dakota Growers Of Coming Herbic…
February 9, 2016
Ford Baldwin painted a bleak picture of weed control at a recent workshop here exploring the future of ag production, Read More
HerbicidesWSSA Announces New, Updated Free Web Resources
February 9, 2016
Today the Weed Science Society of American (WSSA) announced that new and updated educational materials for both weed scientists and Read More
Soybean field
FungicidesFour Arysta Fungicide Formulations Given FIFRA Approval…
February 8, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the issuance of Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Section 2(ee) Recommendations for Read More
FungicidesAgri-Fos Systemic Fungicide Plus Receives EPA Registrat…
February 8, 2016
Vivid Life Sciences has announced the EPA registration of Agri-Fos Systemic Fungicide Plus, a highly concentrated active ingredient phosphite fungicide, Read More
Crop InputsBayer Contests EPA’s Decision On Valuable Insecticide F…
February 5, 2016
Crop Science, a division of Bayer, has announced it has refused a request by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to Read More
Wheat Field North Dakota
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Wins Seed Fraud Suit Against South Dakota Grow…
February 5, 2016
Syngenta has obtained a $25,000 settlement from Paul and John Mayclin, Mayclin Farms, Plankinton, SD, in response to their Plant Read More
ManagementOABA Annual Conference Wraps Up In Columbus
February 5, 2016
More than 300 Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) members and industry professionals were on hand to engage in collaborative learning and Read More