Besides the advent of spring, which I love on a personal basis, March-April is also a special time for me on a professional level. It is during this timeframe that CropLife collects entry forms from ag retailers for the annual Environmental Respect Awards. This year marks the 20th anniversary of this worthwhile program, sponsored by DuPont Crop Protection.
To me, what makes the Environmental Respect Awards program so special is it gives our industry a chance to connect with the average person on an emotional level. Recently, I was reminded how often agriculture has played the scientific card in its efforts to improve its public image only to be trumped by half-truth emotional cards played by anti-agricultural groups. To fight this battle, crop protection representatives I’ve spoken with say agriculture needs to be more emotion-filled in its message, but make certain its claims are backed up by sound science nonetheless.
By their nature, the Environmental Respect Awards do this in spades. Winning retailers use scientifically-sound environmental practices to make their facilities protectors of their local landscapes. But these dealerships also connect on an emotional level, doing what they can to safeguard the surrounding fields and watersheds for future generations to flourish. I call that a great winning hand!
If your company is conducting some noteworthy stewardship practices, I would encourage you to enter the contest and tell your story. Visit www.environmentalrespect.com for more details or to formally enter between now and the end of April.
For the sake of our industry, environmental stewardship is a card we definitely shouldn’t be keeping hidden up our sleeves . . .