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AGRICHEMICAL EXECUTIVE SAYS AGRICULTURE MUST 'OWN UP' TO REGAIN PUBLIC CREDIBILITY

 AGRICHEMICAL EXECUTIVE SAYS AGRICULTURE MUST 'OWN UP'
 TO REGAIN PUBLIC CREDIBILITY
 LITTLE ROCK, Ark., Aug. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Agriculture must get tougher on pesticide misuse and begin advocating, rather than resisting, changes that improve the margin of safety to farmers, applicators and consumers, a leading agrichemical executive said here today.
 Addressing members of the National Association of Country Agricultural Agents at its annual meeting here, Dale E. Miller, president and CEO of Sandoz Agro Inc., said the agriculture industry has lost credibility with the public because it paints a too-rosy picture of the state of agricultural practices.
 "The vast majority of people who sell and use pesticides do so with care and in accordance with the law," Miller said. However, it only takes a few violators to hurt the entire industry.
 "We do not need more laws and regulations -- the rules are there," said Miller. "We do need to call for enforcement of those laws and regulations. Fines are rarely levied against any but the most flagrant offenders.
 "Every time we do not speak out or act against the few bad actors in agriculture, we are responsible for the creation of more restrictive laws and regulations."
 The agriculture industry must also spend less time patting itself on the back and more time working cooperatively with the public to identify shared values and positive solutions, Miller said.
 "In the past 20 years, the American public has heard so much about the acknowledged benefits that agriculture provides, and so little about problems and issues with which they are concerned, that they are skeptical of anything we say anymore," said Miller.
 "They have no idea that any of us share their concerns or that we would do anything proactive to better things if it were not mandated by Congress or EPA."
 The reality, said Miller, is that agriculture has changed for the better. The agriculture industry has developed pesticides that pose less risk to people and the environment, initiated educational efforts to make people more aware of potential risks, and implemented better management practices to ensure proper use of pesticides.
 "Yet publicly, we howl" everytime someone proposed new regulations for pesticides.
 Miller cited, as an example, regulations to be proposed late this year by EPA to ensure the safety of farmworkers exposed to pesticides. Already, various segments of the agriculture establishment, as well as environmental activists, are criticizing the EPA's probable proposal.
 "Rather than automatically react negatively, what if we in agriculture went on record with concerns about the potential dangers some farmworkers and applicators face from pesticides when not properly trained and equipped?" he asked.
 "If people in agriculture become known as thoughtful and responsible -- rather than predictable naysayers -- I believe we will regain the respect and power that we have lost in the political and public policy arenas."
 Sandoz Agro produces biological and chemical pesticides for North American agriculture. It is a subsidiary of Sandoz Corp., the U.S. division of Swiss-based Sandoz Ltd., a multinational producer of chemical, pharmaceutical, nutrition and agricultural products.
 -0- 8/10/92
 /CONTACT: Susan Croce Kelly of Sandoz, 708-390-3638/ CO: Sandoz Agro Inc. ST: Arkansas IN: SU:


DG -- SF008 -- 8677 08/10/92 16:48 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 10, 1992
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