CropLife America President and CEO Jay Vroom presented at the 2018 Illinois Farm Bureau President's Conference with a focus on, "Successful Ag Advocacy 2018, It's Back to the Future!", in Bloomington, IL. Conference attendees were principally presidents and other leaders from more than 90 county Farm Bureaus across Illinois.
The presentation comes at a time when farm voices are crucial to the successful passage of the 2018 Farm Bill and the changing U.S. approach to trade policy. Vroom's presentation complements an agenda focused on the many difficult issues facing farmers in the current climate.
"It is more important than ever that farmers make their voices heard, not only at the state and local levels, but also on Capitol Hill," stated Vroom. "This year, farmers have a great opportunity to address important issues in the Farm Bill that could solve some of the problems they face on a daily basis. Some of the most important matters addressed in the 2018 Farm Bill are:
* a fix for the duplicative National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permitting requirement; reauthorization of the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act as previously passed by the House of Representatives in 2017;
* much needed improvements to species consultation and the pesticide registration process under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act; recognition of the exclusive role of state lead agencies; and
* language on cooperative federalism advancing states as coregulators in the federal regulatory process.
He continued, "You (farmers) are the best advocates for how all of these federal issues affect you every day. Make sure your representatives know what you think! The more personal and direct your communication is with government, the better."
Vroom noted rapid changes over the last 20 years to both farming and advocacy. "The internet's impact on the volume of electronic advocacy messaging to government officials has significantly reduced the effectiveness of this approach. It has fostered a return to the importance of personal relationships to advocacy efforts," Vroom explained.
"As farm numbers shrink and agribusiness consolidation continues, the good news is that production agriculture can maintain or increase our impact by redoubling our personal interaction with government officials," said Vroom.
A native of Illinois, Vroom still actively engages with his family farm in Princeton, IL, which is now run by his cousin Evan Hultine. Hultine was present at the conference, as he is currently president of the Bureau County Farm Bureau. He assisted in the advocacy presentation, sharing his experience from last winter when he participated with CLA's farmer advisory team and joined CLA members in meetings with U.S. EPA and Senate officials. Vroom is also a member of the Illinois Farm Bureau.