Collaborating with Responsible Environmental Groups

Brian GermanAgri-Business, Conservation, Environment, Industry

Environmental Groups

Farmers and the environmental community are not always at odds with each other. Often, the agricultural industry and environmental and conservancy groups have overlapping interests, which can be better addressed through collaboration rather than government intervention. Western Growers President and CEO Dave Puglia said that groups like The Nature Conservancy, Environmental Defense Fund, and Sustainable Conservation have all been tremendous partners to collaborate with.

“But there are other groups in the same space, really built around a business model that demands conflict, that leads to media coverage, that leads to litigation. All of which keeps a donor base interested, active, and writing checks,” Puglia noted. “We just have to be cleareyed and realistic about that.”

Some of the more radical activist groups have developed a presence and reputation for disruptive approaches to issues. Much of the results can ultimately be harmful to the farming community. However, by and large, environmental advocacy groups can be allies to agriculture. By finding common ground and working together, farmers and environmentalists can facilitate much broader and more lasting impacts.

“I think all of us in agriculture who seek to improve the conditions for our members, our constituents, have an obligation to seek out the good partners. Those in the environmental and natural resources sector, who have demonstrated the capability for honest, candid, and productive partnership, and work even more closely with those groups,” Puglia noted. “Because I do see a real potential upside for both their cause – habitat, land, water; and ours, which is farming, and habitat, land, and water.”

Listen to the radio report below.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West