GCSAA, including CEO Rhett Evans, participated in the RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment) annual meeting Aug, 22-24 in Greensboro, Ga. RISE is a longstanding coalition partner of GCSAA and staff serve on Law, Regulatory and Legislative committees. RISE is the national trade association representing manufacturers, formulators, distributors and other industry leaders involved with specialty pesticide and fertilizer products.
Evans joined the green industry presidents and CEOs panel, Voice of our Industry: Perspectives from Industry Leaders. Others joining Evans included Dominque Stumpf, chief executive officer, National Pest Management Association; and Britt Wood, chief executive officer, National Association of Landscape Professionals. The panel provided personal insights, experiences, and observations about speaking and advocating for the specialty pesticide industry, with the focus on how we can amplify the collective voice of our industry, whether with our own memberships, with federal, state, and local governments, or with regulatory agencies.
The conference was held at Reynolds Lake Oconee, which features six award-winning golf courses. The GCSAA team was able to meet with five of the six golf course superintendents managing the properties, all of whom are longstanding members of GCSAA. They connected on current issues facing golf facilities in Georgia and find out how GCSAA can better serve its members in this part of the country.
During the annual conference, attendees heard from Timothy Caulfield, University of Alberta professor of health law and science policy and best-selling author. He specializes in legal, policy and ethical issues in medical research and its commercialization. In addition to professional publications, he is the author of several books aimed at the general reader, the host of a television documentary series debunking pseudoscientific myths and is a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.
His message focused on "Battling the Infodemic!" and tackling scientific inaccuracies that pervade culture. Most people get their information on social media, and chemophobia is rampant. Caulfield showed a plethora of information on the web full of inaccuracies and told the audience how important it was to share a personal story to counteract the misinformation.
On day two of the conference, a keynote panel focused on How to Talk about Pesticides: Putting RISE Public Opinion Research into Action! RISE worked with Povaddo and Eckel & Vaughan to gather some fresh and new nationwide consumer opinion data on feelings toward pesticide and fertilizer use. Data was shared with the audience. All in all, products are used by a majority of Americans to protect family from disease, to protect property from invasive species and to keep outdoor spaces accessible. Generally, most citizens are not opposed to homeowners using pesticides and fertilizers (77%), and the base of opposition is 23%. The audience was given information on how to use the data to talk to the media and concerned citizens.