CropLife America, RISE Meeting Focuses On Precision Agriculture

CropLife America (CLA) and RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment) held their annual CLA/RISE Spring Conference April 5-6, which addressed science and regulatory issues impacting the crop protection and specialty pesticide industries.

This year’s theme, ‘Precision, Policy, Progress,’ provided a special focus on the latest advancements in precision application tools and technologies in the industry, and highlighted the progress achieved through ongoing collaboration between the scientific community and regulatory agencies.

Speakers included representatives from the EPA, USDA, academia, scientific communities, and CLA and RISE member companies.

“Every year CLA and RISE members have a unique opportunity to discuss and analyze the policy and science with those who both craft government regulations, and develop the products and technologies being used in the real world,” said Jay Vroom, president and CEO of CLA. “This year’s Spring Conference also helped to facilitate a new discussion on precision agriculture, and thanks to our exhibitors, conference attendees were able to witness actual demonstrations of precision agriculture equipment and experience the latest in technology in action.”

“Having an annual forum that gives our members and regulators the opportunity to learn together about the innovative solutions we are bringing to the consumer and professional markets is invaluable. Over the past two days we have been able to work collaboratively on practical and meaningful solutions for some of our most pressing regulatory issues,” noted RISE President Aaron Hobbs.

During this year’s conference, Asmark Institute, DeAngelo Brothers Incorporated (DBi), PrecisionAg Institute, and SePRO displayed precision ag equipment and other materials to engage conference attendees about the work they do and the innovative equipment they use. DBi discussed how global positioning systems (GPS) equipment can track invasive species in real time to alert clients of threats to vegetation sites such as highways, railroads, and public lands. Asmark Institute displayed an interactive spray nozzle machine that demonstrated different types of nozzles that help mitigate spray drift with more precise crop protection applications.
 
John Chrosniak, chairman of CLA’s Board of Directors and regional business director for North America at DuPont Crop Protection, outlined the driving forces behind the crop protection industry and highlighted the many accomplishments industry has realized by means of a collaborative atmosphere with scientists, farmers and regulatory agencies. “Our industry has made significant improvements that have essentially transformed agriculture,” said Chrosniak. “These accomplishments are a direct result of the cumulative efforts of the crop protection industry, regulatory agencies and U.S. farmers, and building and maintaining these lasting relationships are a key component of the Spring Conference.”
 
“Our ability as an industry to innovate is dependent on an equally innovative regulatory process,” said Dave Morris, RISE Governing Board Chair and Commercial Leader/Global Business Leader, Dow AgroSciences. “This year’s Spring Conference has strengthened our mutual understanding of what our companies do and what our regulators do, which keeps us moving forward so we can deliver the technology-based solutions our customers and communities depend on to keep them healthy and safe.”
 
On Thursday, keynote speaker Julie Borlaug, assistant director of partnerships at the Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture at Texas A&M University and granddaughter of Norman Borlaug, focused her opening address on the advancements agriculture has made over the past few decades, placing considerable emphasis on precision technology and the need for more precise application tools.

Phil Needham of Needham Ag Technologies delivered his remarks later in the day on precision agriculture’s role in improving the efficacy of modern agriculture, a trend that is likely to continue with added investment in research and development.

Bringing focus to innovation in the specialty pesticide marketplace, Friday’s keynote speaker Karen Larson, director of global registrations for Clarke, discussed precision application and the vital role it plays in vector control and public health protection.
 
Conference sessions addressed topics ranging from specialty pesticides and the importance of clear label language to pollinator protection, as well as the Endangered Species Act and Clean Water Act National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits. Speakers in each session discussed the role of science and research in developing sound policy solutions, and emphasized the importance of innovative technology and products.
 
Dr. Barbara Glenn, vice president of Science and Regulatory Affairs at CLA, said that “by sharing the latest science, regulators will be able to craft better regulations and policies. Everyone involved in the process of producing food, fiber and renewable fuel – from scientists to policymakers – understands that sound science underpins the continued development and progress of this important industry.”

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