On Earth Day 2012, the crop protection industry reflects on the many advancements made in environmental sustainability and food production, and looks forward to a future of research and development opportunities and the creation of innovative modern agricultural tools.
CropLife America (CLA) and its members understand the positive effects these changes have had on the crop protection industry, and the central role sustainability has played in shaping agricultural policy. Today’s growers and ranchers recognize the importance of sound environmental stewardship and by employing modern farming products and techniques, growers are able to produce more crops on less land with fewer inputs, all while conserving water, soil and energy.
“The celebration of Earth Day marks an important reminder of the continued evolution of modern agriculture,” said Jay Vroom, president and CEO of CLA. “From creating safer, more effective products, to fostering an open dialogue between industry, growers and policymakers, CropLife America and our members hold a responsibility to furthering sustainability and conservation in modern agriculture.”
Today’s modern agriculture products and techniques protect more crops, optimize natural resources for future generations of farmers and consumers, and protect wildlife habitats. With the use of new technologies and practices, such as drought- and disease-resistant seeds, biotechnology, innovative crop protection chemicals, drip irrigation, and conservation tillage systems, farmers have been able to provide sufficient food without increasing the amount of land used for farming.
- With the use of agricultural herbicides, crop yields are increased by 20% or more, and growers are able to manage weeds without added tillage, reducing erosion from tillage by up to 90%.
- The use of herbicides and conservation tillage has also drastically reduced the amount of energy used to grow the nation’s food; agriculture accounted for 5% of energy used in 1970 and today only accounts for 1% of national energy use.
- Modern agriculture products and techniques result in annual savings of 337 million gallons of fuel that tilling would require, and prevents an estimated 356 billion pounds of disturbed soil from eroding into rivers and streams.
In recognition of Earth Day, CLA also recognizes 2012 as the 50th anniversary of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Often credited as an environmental hero of the twentieth century, Carson effectively launched the modern environmental movement and inspired the creation of Earth Day. Silent Spring spurred many changes, but the most prominent landmarks include the creation of the U.S. EPA and revisions to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).
Farmers and ranchers understand that a healthy environment is the first step in the successful production of food, fiber and renewable fuel, and the use of modern agriculture technologies and tools will continue to help farmers grow sufficient food for a growing population and conserve resources for future generations. As part of CLA’s “Year of Silent Spring Remembered,” visit www.croplifeamerica.org/silent-spring to see the many ways that agriculture has kept pace with a growing population and increasing food production needs.
“Spring is the time of year when many Americans, gardeners and farmers alike, get back into the environment and are planting new crops, flowers, shrubs, and tending to our lawns,” noted Vroom. “As such, this is also a perfect time to remind everyone who is going to use an important pest control product: please read and follow the label directions. This is the first and best step to ensure responsible pesticide application.”