I can still remember the beads of sweat popping out on my brow while sitting in a room filled with people who were either ignorant of modern agriculture, or were actively hostile toward our industry. Although I still encounter both groups today, I can honestly say that I am much more comfortable and better prepared to deal with them than when I began my career nearly 30 years ago.
Agriculture has changed in the 50 years since Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was first published. Although our most vocal opponents have tried to claim the moral high ground, I have learned that their arguments are usually paper-thin. Today’s farmers grow more food on less land using more sustainable methods than ever before – and it’s not by accident. Whereas modern agricultural practices have evolved to meet the challenges of feeding a hungry planet, our opponents’ arguments have not.
Programs like Crop Life America’s Tell Me More are designed to provide our members with useful knowledge they can use to enlighten the ill-informed. Many people are not so much against modern agriculture; rather, they are against the way it is often portrayed in the media. Today, there is nothing I enjoy more than going into a high school or college class to talk about our industry. It’s amazing how receptive the students are when they learn about the positive aspects of agriculture.
That is why I encourage all of our members to visit the CLA web site and learn about the great things that are happening in our industry. It’s time for all of us to step up and speak out – you might be surprised at how many people are ready to listen.
Research Triangle Park, NC