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

Young Corn Plants
Eric SfiligojLaunching New Seed Traits: Wait on China . . . Or Else!
June 26, 2017
In life, no one likes the waiting game. In agriculture, however, playing the waiting game is very important – especially Read More
United States Capitol Building in Washington D.C.
Eric SfiligojBudget Battle Agitating Ag
June 5, 2017
President Donald Trump has made waves with many groups when it comes to health care reform, immigration policy, and proposed Read More
Eric SfiligojMonsanto ‘Picks Its Battles’ by Nixing Deere Deal
May 23, 2017
Having been in the trade journalism game since the mid-1980s, I remember several watershed moments during my career. One of Read More
AGCO Ratliff featured
Eric SfiligojRemembering Robert Ratliff
May 15, 2017
With all the fast-paced happenings in agriculture this spring, with multiple mergers in the works and planting season in full Read More
Trending Articles
PrecisionAg Vision Conference
Precision AgPrecisionAg® Vision Conference: Focused on the Future
June 13, 2017
PrecisionAg® is pleased to announce the return of its PrecisionAg Vision Conference, October 10-12, 2017. Based on overwhelmingly positive response Read More
Redbanded-stinkbug-on-soybean-Photo-credit-Thomas-County-Ag
Crop InputsExperts: Mild Winter, Early Planting Will Increase Soybean Insect Threat
June 12, 2017
Higher than average temperatures this past winter affected much of the nation, especially the South and Midwest. The National Centers Read More
Eric SfiligojMonsanto ‘Picks Its Battles’ by Nixing Deere Deal
May 23, 2017
Having been in the trade journalism game since the mid-1980s, I remember several watershed moments during my career. One of Read More
Migrant farm workers
LegislationTrump: Immigration Crackdown Won’t Impact U.S. Agriculture
May 16, 2017
President Donald Trump said he would seek to keep his tough immigration enforcement policies from harming the U.S. farm industry Read More
AGCO Ratliff featured
Eric SfiligojRemembering Robert Ratliff
May 15, 2017
With all the fast-paced happenings in agriculture this spring, with multiple mergers in the works and planting season in full Read More
Case sprayer nozzle closeup
EquipmentSpray Application: A Nozzle Renaissance
May 2, 2017
If you had asked four-decade ag veteran Mark Bartel, President of Wilger Inc., just a few years ago what lay Read More
Latest News
ManagementDow Field Day and More Cooperative Consolidation
June 28, 2017
CropLife Editor discusses his recent attendance at the Dow AgroSciences Field Day in Indiana and shares news on another pair Read More
Young Corn Plants
Eric SfiligojLaunching New Seed Traits: Wait on China . . . Or Else!
June 26, 2017
In life, no one likes the waiting game. In agriculture, however, playing the waiting game is very important – especially Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsMonsanto Speaks on Dicamba Issues in Arkansas
June 26, 2017
Monsanto’s Chief Technology Officer, Robb Fraley, issued the following statement following the Arkansas State Plant Board’s proposal to ban dicamba, Read More
Corn Field
Seed/BiotechCorn Insect Bt Technologies Offer Cost-effective, Proac…
June 26, 2017
When farm economics are challenging, farmers look for ways to bolster profit margins, including reducing input costs. Some may think Read More
Crop InputsArkansas Plant Board Votes to Ban Dicamba — Now W…
June 23, 2017
The Arkansas State Plant Board has voted to pass a proposed emergency rule to ban the use of in-crop dicamba, Read More
Engenia soybeans
Crop InputsBASF: ‘Closely Monitoring’ Dicamba Situatio…
June 22, 2017
BASF, whose Engenia herbicide is the target of more than 200 drift complaints in Arkansas, emailed the following statement to Read More
ManagementConsolidation Update
June 22, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss progress on manufacturer consolidation, and another big move for Midwest cooperative Central Valley Read More
Palmer pigweed seedhead in cotton
Crop InputsThreat of Dicamba Ban Looms in Arkansas
June 22, 2017
The Arkansas State Plant Board has rejected a proposed ban on the use of dicamba herbicide, but a procedural error Read More
Potash Agrium
Crop InputsAgrium-PotashCorp to become Nutrien upon Merger Complet…
June 21, 2017
Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. and Agrium Inc. have announced today that once the anticipated merger transaction closes, the new Read More
Crop InputsMidwestern BioAg Hosts TerraNu Fertilizer Plant Opening…
June 20, 2017
Last Friday, Midwestern BioAg was joined by over 80 local farmers, media and staff to celebrate the grand opening of Read More
Soybean Field
Industry NewsAligned Ag Distributors Names New President
June 19, 2017
Aligned Ag Distributors LLC announced this morning the appointment of Mary Tolke to the position of President/CEO, effective July 1. Read More
ManagementPlotting Corn, AGCO/Asmark’s Applicator Training Center…
June 15, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about their recent visits to Columbus, OH, and Bloomington, IL, along with an Read More
Seed/BiotechDow AgroSciences Announces Launch of Enlist Corn for 20…
June 14, 2017
Enlist corn will be commercially available in the U.S. for the 2018 growing season. Dow AgroSciences announced the launch today Read More
ASMARK AGCO Applicator Training Center
EmployeesAsmark, AGCO Open Training Center for Beginning Applica…
June 13, 2017
AGCO Corp. and the Asmark Institute have opened a new Applicator Training Center, created in a collaboration between the two Read More
Power to Do More Contest Winners
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences Announces Three Winners in Power to Do…
June 13, 2017
Thousands of votes have been cast and three farmers have been awarded the power to do more with a $10,000 Read More
Frogeye leaf spot
FungicidesStrobilurin-resistant Frogeye Leaf Spot Threat Looms wi…
June 13, 2017
Heavy spring rainfall throughout the South and Midwest delayed planting and created the perfect environment for diseases like frogeye leaf Read More
PrecisionAg Vision Conference
Precision AgPrecisionAg® Vision Conference: Focused on the Future
June 13, 2017
PrecisionAg® is pleased to announce the return of its PrecisionAg Vision Conference, October 10-12, 2017. Based on overwhelmingly positive response Read More
CHS St. Paul, MN fertilizer terminal
LegislationICGA Praises President Trump’s Remarks on Waterwa…
June 12, 2017
Illinois Corn Growers Association President Justin Durdan, a farmer from Utica, issued the following statement regarding President Donald Trump’s comments Read More