The 2019 RISE Annual Meeting was held in Tucson, Ariz., August 26-28, 2019. Chava McKeel, Bob Helland and Michael Lee -- GCSAA’s government affairs team -- represented the association at the annual meeting, which focused on industry unity, broadening the view of what is considered advocacy and identifying challenges that lie ahead in the specialty pesticide and fertilizer space. The team was able to network with important industry partners throughout the conference.
Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment is the national trade association representing manufacturers, formulators, distributors and other industry leaders involved with specialty pesticide and fertilizer products. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., RISE is engaged at the federal, state and local levels.
McKeel serves on the Regulatory Affairs Committee, Helland on the Law Committee and Lee on the Legislative Affairs Committee. During all committee meetings, time was spent discussing issues like the Clean Water Act and WOTUS, pollinators (MP3 Metrics), Endangered Species Act, pesticide and fertilizer bans and restrictions and pesticide and fertilizer preemption. The committees also spent time in tactical planning, identifying the issues and locations RISE will focus its advocacy efforts on in 2020.
Attendees learned more about the recent high court decision in Montgomery County, Maryland, to allow for the ban of private and public use of pesticides. GCSAA members have worked with RISE for many years to stop the ordinance from going into effect. Efforts are now focused on implementation of the ban. Golf currently has an exemption.
Helland and McKeel participated in a message training opportunity. It’s important that GCSAA members can confidentially communicate why and how they work for the golf industry and in particular know how to respond to others who question their use of inputs as part of their professional land management.
The keynote speaker was Roger Rickard, founder and President of Voices in Advocacy. Rickard works with organizations to inspire, educate, engage, and activate their supporters by turning them into effective, influential advocates. He shared there are 538,000 elected officials who are deciding the fate of the green industry in the United States and the importance of engagement especially at the local and state levels of government where decisions can be made quickly. The speaker talked about how broad advocacy is and that it includes the following branches:
1. Government - simplest, meetings with lawmakers
2. Media - press conference held for a cause
3. Public service - personalizing the problem, identifying something easily relatable with others (animals, celebrities, statistics, kids, calls to action)
4. Brand - "take the pledge to never text and drive" or "pledge now..."
5. Cause - Wounded Warriors, Susan B. Komen, MADD
6. Industry - RISE
7. People power - Parkland students
The Government Affairs team appreciates its partnership with RISE and will continue to work together in the future.
Blog by: Chava McKeel