Advocacy, Outreach Furthers Agriculture Awareness
Jay Lehr, Science Director, The Heartland Institute, and self-described agricultural motivational speaker, encouraged members of the crop protection industry to go on the offensive when it comes to talking with those about the industry.
“I can think of no industry that is more demonized than we are,” Lehr told attendees during his keynote address at the FCI Trade Summit – Americas in Las Vegas. “No one understands what we do. We’re working to make their food safer and less expensive. And we’re not defending ourselves.”
During his presentation, “Exposing the Great Value of the Crop Protection Industry,” Lehr said everyone in the industry needs to not only do a better job defending the industry, but also they need to go on the offensive.
“You’re selling your products; you’re educating you customers, but you’re not defending your industry,” Lehr said. “There’s a disconnect between the farmer and the consumer. The farmer is using your product. The consumer has no clue. They think your products are more likely to make them sick than healthy. That’s insane.”
Consumers are also under the misconception that growers put gallons of chemicals on their fields, which of course is simply not the case. Holding up the 1-ounce sample-size shampoo bottle, one like every attendee had in his or her room, Lehr explained how the delegates could use that to start a conversation about the positive impact crop protection products have on the world.
If that 1-ounce container were filled with a modern crop protection product, it would – depending on the product – cover anywhere from one to six acres. Residuals are no longer measured in parts per million, but parts per billion, and in some cases trillion.
“We must tell our story.” Lehr said. “It will benefit your income; it will benefit your industry; it will benefit the world.”