CropLife America (CLA) hosted its National Policy Conference, “The Politics of Food and the 2012 Farm Bill: Are You Being Served?”, May 16 at the Newseum in Washington, DC. Now in its third year, the National Policy Conference brings together a varied group of academics, policy experts and leaders from Congress to discuss issues surrounding the 2012 Farm Bill. Panelists debated topics such as the impact of social media on the public opinion of agriculture, advances in farming conservation during the past century, and the status of key programs in the current Farm Bill discussions.
“As the U.S. Congress is working hard to develop comprehensive legislation for the new Farm Bill, the conversations that take place today could not be more timely and necessary,” said Jay Vroom, president and CEO of CLA. “From farmers, to food bloggers, to conservation associations, it is clear there are many unique perspectives that have a stake in this important and sweeping piece of legislation.”
Dayton Duncan, writer and co-producer of the documentary “The Dust Bowl,” a film by Ken Burns, began the conference with exclusive clips from the movie before it airs in November on PBS. The documentary chronicles the worst man-made ecological disaster in U.S. history, the dust storms of the early 20th century, which marked a watershed occurrence of agricultural producers and government working together. Duncan will discuss the film with Master of Ceremonies Marc Gunther, contributing editor of FORTUNE magazine, and answer questions from the audience.
John Chrosniak, chairman of the CLA Board of Directors and regional business director for North America at DuPont Crop Protection, noted that many lessons from the Dust Bowl are still relevant today.
“We are all impacted by agriculture, in part because growers are producing much more than just food – they are meeting new market demands such as biofuels,” said Chrosniak. “Crops are being grown for advanced uses, and agriculture is the key driver in our new, bio-based economy. It goes well beyond biofuels, reaching to the production of innovative materials for a multitude of high-tech, industrial and consumer products. Success, however, will depend upon a renewed commitment to scientific research and development.”