Several talks at the annual conference on pest control talked about the powerful voice of a farmer. Leaders stressed the need for the agriculture industry to make those voices heard and be at the table when conversations take place.
There was a reoccurring message in the first several talks at the California Association of Pest Control Advisor’s Annual Conference in Anaheim. Bayer Crop Sciences’ vice president of marketing in North America, David Hollinrake, was one of those speakers. “The main message was the powerful voice that farmers have. Yes, we have some daunting challenges in front of us relative to regulations, and that is largely built on the fact that even when I was growing up on the farm, there was a lot more people in the community that understood agriculture,” Hollinrake said. “When my grandfather was on the farm, some 40 percent of the population was connected to agriculture. Today there’s 1 percent.”
Hollinrake said that leads to misconceptions about the industry which ultimately turns into mistrust. “So the opportunity we have in front of us is to educate and engage the general population in such that they better understand the technologies we employ to feed a growing, hungry population,” Hollinrake said. “Farmers are the most trusted voice in food safety and so our job is to enable farmers to be proud of what they do and to represent that in social communities so that others can have a better appreciation for the benefits of agriculture and the benefits farmers do.”