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AGRICULTURE MUST 'OWN UP' TO REGAIN PUBLIC CREDIBILITY

 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 for farmers, applicators and consumers, a leading agrichemical executive said here today.
 Addressing members of the National Association of County Agricultural Agents at their annual meeting here, Dale A. 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 ag 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.
 "If people in the agriculture establishment 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 Corporation, 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 Crop Protection, 708-390-3638/ CO: Sandoz Agro, Inc. ST: Arkansas IN: CHM SU:


SB -- NY059 -- 8575 08/10/92 14:14 EDT
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Date:Aug 10, 1992
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