Be The Advocate

“I wonder who will speak for agriculture now?”

My good friend, Ford West of The Fertilizer Institute, spoke these words during our PACE Advisory Coun­cil meeting this past October in reference to the death of Dr. Norman Borlaug earlier this year.

I think the most immediate answer to that question is “no one.” Who in the world has the credentials to serve as a spokesperson with the same level of credibility as Dr. Borlaug? He did everything in his power, virtually right up to his death, to champion modern agriculture practices. But that voice — beyond the power his work and his influence continues to have through the initiatives and the people that carry his torch — has fallen silent.

It’s terribly unfortunate timing, as modern production agriculture continues to take body blows from extreme environmentalists bent on taking us back to the ox and cart. Then there’s the current regulatory, legislative, and judicial climate which, at least nationally, is hostile to production ag. Somehow, the whole of our work has become a problem in need of solving with, heaven forbid, all-organic production.

And that IS what they want — there is no final victory, no pragmatism, no sun-setting for any of these groups. They feel they have a license to exist until every pesticide is banned and we’re spreading nothing but poop across the Heartland.

Dealing with such delusion had been a minor annoyance to many of us, but given the times in which we live, I am encouraging all of you to take a stand. Perhaps none of you single-handedly saved 1 billion lives like our friend Dr. Borlaug, but together, working with your grower-customers, you have fed a billion-plus souls with safe, abundant, and affordable food. Despite our humble inclinations about the work we do, we should not put this shining light of a story under the bushel basket. It’s a story that needs sharing.

I know it’s hard because I deal with it, too. I live in suburban Cleveland, and on our community Web site and message board, there is often lots of ranting going on about food safety, biotech crops, and the evils of “big ag” as they like to call it. There are only a half-dozen or so true zealots who will post, so I have taken it upon myself to poke holes in some of the nonsense that would otherwise get legitimized by silence.

Why? The Lurkers. These are the people who go to these boards to check out what’s going on and get a lay of the land on an issue. On our board, when you post, you get a count of the number of times the post is viewed. If the first post gets, say, 50 views, and after I respond there’s 300, there’s 250 or so lurkers who’ve at least gotten an alternative view of the story.

Lurkers also attend public meetings and don’t ask questions, read papers and don’t write to the editor — thousands, millions of passive participants in democracy that you can influence, and feel good about influencing.

So who’s going to speak for agriculture? Who will take up the burden of Dr. Borlaug’s departure? The answer is each and every one of you.

Share your communication and advocacy success stories with me at paul@croplife.com and we will highlight them in CropLife® magazine and on www.croplife.com in 2010. Happy New Year!

Leave a Reply

Latest News
CropLife 100Allied Ag Distributors Adds Four New Owners
July 30, 2015
Aligned Ag Distributors LLC has announced the addition of four new customer/owners to Franklin Holding Co. LLC. They are: The Read More
FungicidesReport: Sudden Death Syndrome Symptoms Appearing In Soy…
July 30, 2015
Last week, symptoms of sudden death syndrome (SDS) began to appear in April 15-planted soybeans at the University of Illinois’s Read More
Seed/BiotechAdvanta Seeds Adds New Phoenix Corn Hybrids
July 30, 2015
Corn growers in the High Plains and Western states have new options available for the 2016 growing season from Advanta Read More
ManagementTechnology and agriculture: a Futurist’s Perspective
July 30, 2015
Futurist David Zach, speaking at this week’s InfoAg Conference in St. Louis, shared thoughts on the benefits and limitations of Read More
Biofuels Plant in Lousiana
Industry NewsIdle Biofuels Plant In Louisiana To Reopen As Ammonia F…
July 30, 2015
A Lithuania-based company plans to spend $265 million to reopen an idle biofuels refinery in Grant Parish as an ammonia Read More
FFA at Monsanto Booth at the 2015 National Farm Machinery Show
Industry NewsFive Students Receive The 2015 Monty’s Plant Food Compa…
July 29, 2015
This fall, five college-bound students will have financial support through the Monty’s Plant Food Company FFA Scholarship. All five scholarship Read More
GYPSOIL Blendable Pellets
Crop InputsBeneficial Reuse Management Launches Pelletized Gypsum …
July 29, 2015
Beneficial Reuse Management (BRM) announced this week at Ag Media Summit that its GYPSOIL Pelletized Products Division will open a Read More
StewardshipOhio Water Quality Project To Determine How Much Phosph…
July 27, 2015
Researchers with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University are looking for farmers in Read More
FertilizerKoch Agronomic Services Launches N-TEGRATION Technology
July 27, 2015
Koch Agronomic Services, LLC (KAS) has launched  N-TEGRATION Technology, a process technology platform designed to enable production of enhanced efficiency fertilizers at Read More
HerbicidesExpert: IARC Herbicide Classifications Leading To Confu…
July 24, 2015
Few people in the crop protection industry had heard of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) before this Read More
ManagementFCI Trade Summit Update & Precision Tank Turns 50
July 23, 2015
Editors Dave Frabotta and Eric Sfiligoj discuss the upcoming FCI Trade Summit in Las Vegas, NV, and how Precision Tank Read More
Palmer pigweed seedhead in cotton
HerbicidesUSDA Deregulates Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist Cotton Trait
July 23, 2015
The USDA today issued its decision deregulating Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist cotton trait in the U.S. The USDA has now completed its Read More
Industry NewsVerdesian Life Sciences Showcases Versatile Product Por…
July 23, 2015
Technology has revolutionized agriculture by bringing farmers, retailers and distributors to the forefront of the digital age. To meet the Read More
FertilizerWSJ: Cf Industries Exploring Merger With Dutch Chemical…
July 23, 2015
U.S. fertilizer maker CF Industries is in advanced merger talks with Amsterdam-listed chemical company OCI NV, the Wall Street Journal Read More
HerbicidesNufarm Releases New Panther SC Herbicide
July 23, 2015
Nufarm has announced the availability of new Panther SC herbicide. Panther SC is the first liquid formulation of flumioxazin available Read More
EquipmentFarmLink Launches Farm Equipment Sharing Program
July 23, 2015
FarmLink has introduced a new online farm equipment sharing community – MachineryLink Sharing – leveraging this new economy business model Read More
HerbicidesCould The South’s Most Troublesome Weed Represent A Thr…
July 22, 2015
Palmer amaranth is undoubtedly the most troublesome weed in the southern United States, taking a devastating toll on both cotton Read More
Industry NewsH.J. Baker Hires New Director Of International Sales
July 22, 2015
Global Agriculture firm H.J. Baker announced today that Steve Langley has joined the company’s Crop Performance Division and Animal Health Read More