Support Agriculture By Being An ‘AgVocate’

Bayer CropScience Says Farmers Need to AgVocate with Consumers

By Brian German, Associate Broadcaster

The California Association of Pest Control Advisers (CAPCA) recently held their 42nd Annual CAPCA Conference & Agri-Expo in Anaheim.  It was a sellout crowd at the Disneyland Convention Center, with about 1,600 registered participants and more than 160 different trade show vendors participating.  The theme of this year’s conference was “Feeding a Nation, Fighting the Fear,” with speakers covering a variety of topics related to public interest in agriculture. 

David Hollinrake, vice president of Agricultural Commercial Operations (ACO) Marketing with Bayer CropScience, talked about a program that Bayer CropScience sponsors called AgVocate.   “AgVocacy really is about engaging the farmer population so that they can represent modern agriculture to the consumer population that has a growing disconnect from what we do,” Hollinrake said. 

vice president of Agricultural Commercial Operations (ACO) Marketing with Bayer CropScience, AgVocacy
David Hollinrake, vice president of Agricultural Commercial Operations (ACO) Marketing with Bayer CropScience

There has been a growing disconnect between those who are involved with agriculture and the overall consumer base.  “With misinformation sometimes comes misconceptions and mistrust,” Hollinrake noted. 

One of the reasons for the divide between growers and consumers is that the number of people involved in agriculture has declined significantly over the past 50 years.  “When my grandfather grew up on the farm, some 40 percent of people were involved in production agriculture. Today, there’s only 1 percent of the population involved in agriculture,” Hollinrake said.

It’s important to bridge that gap by giving consumers a better understanding of what agriculture is really about.  “Our role with AgVocacy is to enable the farmers to take an active role in describing the benefits of modern Ag and really dispelling a lot of the myths that exist in agriculture,” Hollinrake said.

Bayer-Cropscience-agvocate-amplify-your-voice-hero“One of the other topics that we spoke about was the difference between conventional agriculture and organic agriculture,” Hollinrake noted.  The growth in organic farms has created an atmosphere of misunderstanding; with consumers erroneously believing that traditionally grown produce is somehow less safe.  Without being involved in agriculture, it’s understandable for people to have misconceptions about how the industry works.  However, these types of beliefs solidify the need for the AgVocate program.

Hollinrake thinks meeting the dietary needs of a growing population will require both organic and traditional farming. “If we’re going to feed 10 billion people by 2050, it’s going to take all forms of agriculture. To me, it’s not an ‘either/or’ – it’s a ‘yes/and’ conversation,” Hollinrake said.

Unprecedented CAPCA Conference Attendance!

Agriculture Needs a Hero! Welcome to the Annual CAPCA Conference.

 

In an exclusive interview at the 42nd Annual California Association of Pest Control Advisers (CAPCA) Conference & Agri-Expo TODAY in Anaheim, CAPCA CEO and President, Ruthann Anderson, shared, “We have had an unprecedented response here at CAPCA.”

CAPCA CONFERENCE 2016 audience
Ruthann Anderson, CAPCA CEO and President

“Registrations are at an all-time high,” she continued. “We’ve actually sold out the entire show as well as registrations with 1600 attendees. There were just a handful of walkups that we unfortunately just couldn’t accommodate today. We are excited and looking forward to continuing to have a high professional continuing education program as well as an exhibit hall here today.”

“This year’s theme is ‘Fighting the Fear, Feeding the Nation,’ said Anderson, “so we’ll have Captain CAPCA as well as Doctor Foe here this morning.”

Click here to meet Captain CAPCA and Doctor Foe on this CAPCA ‘NEWS’ video!

 

Anderson reflected, “You know for us, CAPCA really represents the Pest Control Advisors (PCAs) for production ag and turf and ornamental. As a requirement for their continuing education, they need 40 hours in order to renew [their certification]. For us, bringing together continuing education as well as networking is so valuable for them as they move into the new year.”

 

Some “Top Gun” people speaking this year, according to Anderson, “are obviously some of our main sponsors. Bayer CropScience and FMC Corporation are both doing high-level presentations. We also have Kern County agricultural commissioner Ruben Arroyo talking about the new proposed regulations for buffer zones around schools, so that’s going to be a great conversation starter for all of our members.”

 

“We appreciate all of the support we receive,” Anderson stated. “It’s so valuable for us. We exist because of volunteers and we exist because of our membership. We are grateful for all of them.”


The California Association of Pest Control Advisers (CAPCA) represents more than 75% of the nearly 4,000 California EPA licensed pest control advisers (PCAs) that provide pest management consultation for the production of food, fiber and ornamental industries of this state.

CAPCA is dedicated to the professional development and enhancement of our member’s education and stewardship, which includes legislative, regulatory, continuing education and public outreach activities.

CAPCA membership covers a broad spectrum of the industry including agricultural consulting firms, U.C. Cooperative Extension Service, city, county and state municipalities, public agencies, privately employed, forensic pest management firms, biological control suppliers, distributors, dealers of farm supplies, seed companies, laboratories, farming companies and manufacturers of pest management products.