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 [email protected] and we will highlight them in CropLife® magazine and on www.croplife.com in 2010. Happy New Year!

Leave a Reply

Latest News
ManagementWashington Visit and Bayer/Monsanto Deal Update
May 26, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discusses a recent trip to DC and the latest news on the proposed pairing Read More
Fertilizer closeup in hand
Industry NewsVerdesian: Striking A Balance Between Yield & ROI
May 26, 2016
Finely tuned nutrient management plans are helping farmers throughout the U.S. improve nutrient use efficiency, increase return on investment (ROI) Read More
Crop InputsLand O’Lakes Announces Minnesota Water Quality Pa…
May 25, 2016
Governor Mark Dayton and Land O’Lakes, Inc. President and CEO Chris Policinski today announced a new public-private partnership to protect Read More
Soybean Plant closeup
Industry NewsMonsanto Rejects Bayer Bid; Open To More Talks
May 25, 2016
Monsanto Co, the world’s largest seed company, turned down Bayer AG’s $62 billion acquisition bid as “incomplete and financially inadequate” Read More
Corn close up
Crop InputsArysta LifeScience Establishes Global Headquarters In R…
May 25, 2016
Arysta LifeScience has announced plans to relocate its global headquarters from West Palm Beach, FL, to Cary, NC, over the Read More
fertilizer blending and storage, Top 100
BlendersCHS Dakota Expansion Features AGCO’s GSI InterSys…
May 25, 2016
The continued growth of precision agriculture has increased farmer use of customized fertilizer blends best-suited for their soil conditions. Several Read More
ManagementAgriculture 3.5: A Bumpy Road Ahead
May 24, 2016
You may have read my article a few years ago on Agriculture 3.0, which is a term I coined to Read More
Topcon’s X30 display with CropSpec sensors
EquipmentGPS Autosteer Systems: Product Updates From Precision A…
May 24, 2016
Throughout 2015 GPS Steering solutions continued to evolve from what was once an after-market add on, to today’s cab where Read More
Trimble TMX-2050 In-Cab Display
Eric SfiligojThe Precision Ag Revolution Continues
May 24, 2016
It’s funny how much “the first time” tends to mean to someone as they get older. I sometimes can’t recall Read More
Eric Wintemute, AMVAC
Precision AgAMVAC Ups The Ante With New Precision Ag Technology
May 24, 2016
A potentially industry-changing at-plant soil treatment system from American Vanguard Corp., or AMVAC, is coming soon to large growers in Read More
Dry and Liquid Plant
CropLife 100CropLife 100 Map
May 24, 2016
The new CropLife 100 map shows the locations of each of the headquarters of the 2015 CropLife 100 retailers. The interactive Read More
Southern States Cooperative
Corn Field
Industry NewsTiger-Sul Names Veteran Account Manager To Lead Central…
May 23, 2016
With the continuing growth of the sulphur bentonite and precision crop nutrient industry, global agriculture firm H.J. Baker has announced that Read More
Bayer sign
Industry NewsReuters: Bayer Defies Critics With $62 Billion Monsanto…
May 23, 2016
German drugs and crop chemicals group Bayer has offered to buy U.S. seeds company Monsanto for $62 billion in cash, Read More
Eric SfiligojPity The Monsanto Haters
May 23, 2016
An old saying goes thus: “Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.” Given current events, there Read More
Industry NewsCompass Minerals Hires Industry Veteran To Lead Plant N…
May 19, 2016
Compass Minerals has hired plant nutrition industry veteran Vatren Jurin to steer the company’s portfolio expansion into specialty liquid micronutrient Read More
ASMARK Retailers LIVE! Tour 2016 Group shot The Andersons
CropLife 100The Andersons Rejects Unsolicited Proposal From HC2
May 19, 2016
The Andersons, Inc. has announced that its Board of Directors has rejected two non-binding, highly conditional, unsolicited proposals from HC2 Read More
glyphosate
Crop InputsWHO: Glyphosate ‘Unlikely’ To Cause Cancer
May 16, 2016
Via Reuters.com reporter Kate Kelland: The weed-killing pesticide glyphosate, made by Monsanto and widely used in agriculture and by gardeners, Read More