January 2016

Talk the Talk

Eat your beans and peas! The United Nations has declared 2016 to be the International Year of Pulses (IYP)! This year-long celebration aims to heighten public awareness about the nutritional benefits of pulses and their role in sustainable food production.

Not sure what a pulse is? Take a look at that bowl of hummus or your lentil soup! Pulses are annual leguminous crops yielding between one and 12 grains or seeds within a pod, such as lentils, beans, green peas and chickpeas. Whether they are grown organically or through conventional farming methods, pulses are a great source of protein and have nitrogen-fixing properties which can contribute to increasing soil fertility.

Pulses face many threats, including the pea aphid that attacks pea plants. Did you know that one female aphid produces 10-14 live young per day? In the 1930s before advanced crop protection products were available, the pea aphid destroyed more than half of Oregon’s pea crop.1  Thanks to the development of organic and synthetic pesticide technology, farmers can now prevent such threats from attacking their pulse crops and keep grocery stores stocked with plenty of protein options.

#ThankAFarmer #IYP2016

1 CropLife Foundation, The Benefits of Insecticide Use: Green Peas.


Using TMM Resources to Agvocate in Your State!

CropLife America’s (CLA) Tell Me More (TMM) program focuses on empowering those who wish to share the message of modern agriculture with relevant and meaningful materials. Agvocates across the country can share CLA’s infographics, posters and other materials with friends and families to communicate the benefits of crop protection products. Recently in the Northwest, Oregonians for Food and Shelter (OFS) featured CLA’s Holiday Toolkit in their Christmas weekly update. Washivore also used a number of CLA’s pollinator infographics in a recent post on the importance of honeybees. Visit our Tell Me More website for resources you can share in your local area or contact Whitney Gray for more ideas.

U.S. Farming and Ranching Foundation to Support Ag Ed

Ag educators and other agvocates looking for curriculum and other materials on the benefits of modern farming are in luck! The U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance(USFRA) has launched the U.S. Farming and Ranching Foundation (USFRF) to further agricultural education among America’s consumers, including young adults and millennials. One of the foundation’s initial projects is developing a high-school curriculum guide based on the documentary film, FARMLAND. If you haven’t seen the film yet, look for it on Netflix or DVD and stay tuned for more program offerings from USFRF!



The most popular recent @CropLifeAmerica tweets:

  • Re-using booze http://goo.gl/9mEmTR Restaurants are re-purposing alcohol that would be wasted in an effort to reduce #foodwaste @NPRFood
  • New study finds neonicotinoid seed treatment has no immediate impact on #beeshttp://goo.gl/eU80Su @AgProfessional
  • New report says there’s no evidence that #glyphosate causes cancer http://goo.gl/e744aQ Expert panel contradicts IARC’s classification

At the start of each new year, it’s common practice to step back and set some goals for the upcoming months. Whether it’s eating healthier or finally learning French, resolutions provide guideposts to measure your progress, and setting social media goals is a great way to kick off the year!

  • Start by asking yourself why you’re on platforms like Facebook and Twitter – is it to keep up with friends you don’t get see often or do you tweet to talk about the important role crop protection plays in agriculture? Not everyone’s answers will be the same and that is completely fine! Just asking yourself this question establishes a baseline for your goals.
  • Remember to keep your goals realistic. Do you actually have the time to devote to social media to gain 2,000 new followers this year? Lofty goals are excellent, but something like “tweet three times a week” may yield greater results and further your reach.
  • Keep goals specific (stay away from “become more active on Twitter”) and measurable (free tools, like TweetReach, can help you track your social media presence).

Let’s get social in 2016!

Tell Me More Blog

Searching for perspectives on the benefits of modern agriculture? Read the Tell Me More blog for in-depth information on timely topics to share with family and friends.


New Infographics: Why Pesticides?

A company may decide to develop a new insecticide, herbicide or fungicide based on:

  • Current and potential threats to crops,
  • Consumer demand for safe and healthy food and
  • The practical needs of farmers, who manage their operations as part of their local agricultural communities.

Farmers use crop protection technology to fight invasive insects, weeds and plant diseases that attack fruit, vegetable, grain and fiber crops. Even after farmers harvest their crops, insects, rodents and molds can harm grains and produce. Luckily, post-harvest use of crop protection products can help prevent huge losses.

Let your friends and family know about the threats that farmers face and the benefits of pesticides using CLA’s new infographics, Why Do Farmers Use Pesticides? and Why Pesticides?



Healthy Eating Through Modern Ag

For many people, the New Year brings a stronger resolve to pay more attention to what we put in our grocery carts and order at restaurants, and modern ag helps give you those choices. From protein in pulses to fiber in whole grains and vitamin C in citrus fruits, today’s sustainable ag methods help farmers produce the nutritious foods that keep you going year-round. Read the testimonials below from our Master’s in Modern Ag alumni on how crop protection products are a key link in the process of getting healthy food to your plate.

“I support modern agriculture in America by providing robust packaging solutions for the safe and effective use of agricultural pesticides. As a packaging engineer, the manufacturing and packaging processes I deliver focus on environmental stewardship and farm worker safety. The work I do contributes to feeding the world’s population [by helping] farmers [to] produce more effectively within the limitations of land and weather variances. Everyone ought to support the hard working modern farmer who brings abundance for human sustenance under selfless and tedious conditions. Now everyone can enjoy a nutritious, crunchy and worm-free apple a day to keep the doctor away ─ made possible through the benefits of modern agriculture.”
- Monica

“The biggest public misconception about agriculture is that agriculture today is not producing healthy food for the public. I hear all the time that apples today only contain a third of the nutrients of those grown in the 1930’s or 40’s. Of course you have those that believe that organically grown is the most nutritious. I think what would really help the public learn about today’s produce and their nutritional value is to [promote the benefits of modern ag] locally. Maybe have a food fair for the schools and businesses. Put articles out on social media…Let’s do something for the public to make them not only feel good about our products but know that our products are good for them.”
- Melinda, Colorado

“The biggest public misconception about agriculture is easily that non-GMO, organic, gluten-free or hormone-free agricultural products are more nutritious than conventionally grown products. The public is confused and taking what television commercials, magazines and unreliable Facebook blog posts say for the truth. Every consumer is entitled to their own choice when buying food for themselves and their families, and it is my mission to make sure they are making a well-educated choice. To solve this problem, agriculturalists must simply speak up in their daily lives to their neighbors and to their Facebook friends. We must share our story and spread the truth about agriculture to everyone we know and, most importantly, remind them who produces their food.”
- Courtney, Illinois


New MMA Specialty Certification – Protecting Our Pollinators!

Pollinating species – such as bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles – support plant life and our ecosystems. Agriculture in particular relies on a healthy pollinator population to keep crops growing. In fact, farmers depend on both native pollinators and contract pollination services to promote the growth of over 90 commercially grown crops in North America. Every year, pollinators add more than $24 billion to our nation’s economy.1

The best way to keep our pollinators buzzing is to work together! Beekeepers, growers, the crop protection industry and other stakeholders can all contribute to the effort to support pollinator health. Get your specialty certification in Protecting Our Pollinators to learn more about how you can contribute to this national effort.

CLA’s Master’s in Modern Ag (MMA) educational program includes our main MMA degree as well as three specialty certifications:

  • The Founders of Modern Ag
  • Supporting Soil Health
  • Protecting Our Pollinators

Make sure you’ve completed all three specialties in order to be a true master of modern ag! For questions about the MMA program, contact Whitney Gray, communications coordinator at CLA, by email at wgray@croplifeamerica.org or by phone at 202-872-3847.

1 Fact Sheet: The Economic Challenge Posed by Declining Pollinator Populations, The White House, 2014.