Jay Vroom Testifies to House Committee About Positive Impacts of Crop Protection Technology for the American EconomyWed, 27 Apr 2016 22:30:10 CDT
Jay Vroom, president and CEO of CropLife America (CLA), provided testimony today before the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture’s Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture and Research on the economic contributions of crop protection technology. In the hearing, “Focus on the Farm Economy: Factors Impacting the Cost of Production,” Vroom explained that agricultural technology not only helps farmers increase yields but also positively impacts the economy well beyond the farm-gate, including through job creation. Recent actions taken by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), however, such as EPA’s use of flawed epidemiological studies for risk assessments for organophosphates, threaten farmers’ access to these vital crop protection tools and jeopardize economic benefits as well.
“Recently, the crop protection businesses that support American agriculture have seen serious deviations from the regular order, transparency and scientific integrity of EPA’s risk assessment based pesticide review process,” Vroom stated in his testimony. “These departures have made it difficult to provide business predictability for producers and they potentially inhibit investment in more advanced products. We hope that today’s hearing will help put EPA and agriculture back on a path to a more productive dialogue that leads to reasonable, timely regulatory decisions and solutions to shared concerns. A return to established regulatory process and sound science will help our industry support rural communities and improve farm incomes."
A new study found that the crop protection industry spent a total of $2.6 billion dollars on innovations in 2014. Released earlier this month by CLA, CropLife International and the European Crop Protection Association, the report found that every crop protection product that reaches the market costs $286 million and takes over 11 years of research and development to ensure the highest safety and efficacy standards are met.
In CLA's testimony, it was noted that the United Nation's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) shocked the world in 2015, with a report that concluded that the widely used and extremely tested herbicide, glyphosate, poses a cancer risk. "All prior testing and government evaluation has concluded the opposite," Vroom noted. He raised serious questions to the committee about the choice of the U.S. government delegate to this IARC process and stated, "...in succeeding months many governments around the globe – including in Europe – have disagreed with IARC. Yet we still await a similar rebuttal from EPA."
“Twenty years ago, when President Clinton signed FQPA, we raised the bar high for safe and sustainable food production,” stated Dr. Janet E. Collins, senior vice president of science and regulatory affairs at CLA. “While epidemiological studies certainly have a role to play in the regulation of pesticide technology, FQPA requires that we take into careful consideration toxicological data in evaluating the use of a crop protection product. Overturning progress accomplished by this law would not just be a step back in scientific integrity, but also a step back in terms of ensuring a safe food supply. Re-committing to the values of FQPA and integrating epidemiological data in an appropriate manner will keep the U.S. the leader in safe and sustainable agricultural production.”
CLA encourages foodies, moms, chefs, growers, workers in the crop protection industry, and anyone interested in food production to get involved in the conversation on sustainable food production online and interact with CLA on social media, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Use #ScienceOrSwat to engage in conversations related to the need for farmers to have access to vital and necessary crop protection tools. For more information on the benefits of crop protection products and the science behind the development of pesticide technology, visit the Crop Life website by clicking here.
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