Legislation seeking to prohibit individual pesticide active ingredients or classes of chemistry is our focus in 2019 legislative sessions. Unfortunately, more bills and local ordinances have focused on further limiting the use of first- and second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides, chlorpyrifos, and glyphosate. These bills are especially challenging because virtually all newly elected legislators are new to our issues; there’s a continued declining trust in government and institutions, per polls; and there seems to be a preference in public debate for personal experience instead of facts and evidence.
While legislative challenges will continue for the balance of the year, there is a significant and positive aspect to this year’s advocacy: intensified industry unity to prevent precedent and deliver successful policy outcomes. This year, everyone was ready Jan. 1 with their A-game, recognizing the challenges we face and that there would be no “business-as-usual” after the November elections.
Coalitions that included a mix of pest control, golf, lawn, turf, landscape, tree care, vegetation management and agriculture delivered successful, fact-driven outcomes in several states, and worked until the final vote in other states to preserve all pesticide use patterns — even when a positive outcome was not going to be possible. This year’s advocacy truly has been a group effort.
Social media integration
Here at Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment (RISE), we are always working to enhance our effectiveness as an industry. Our focus this year is on fully integrating social media into our work, launching the third year of our ANDnotOR.org program in April. The program’s goal is to build a relationship with the next-generation consumer of professional services and products, using lifestyle-driven social media content that really resonates with our audience.
Midway through this year’s program, we created more than 800,000 engagements with our content and 3.3 million impressions. Video continues to dominate, with more than 500,000 views of our videos on YouTube. All of this represents success in creating awareness and engagement about And not Or, which is about inclusion of all solutions to achieve homeowners’ desired pest management and plant health outcomes and success around their yards and homes.
Talking with new legislators also has been a focus for us and for many of our partners. Newly elected officials — from town councils to the U.S. Congress — don’t know about our industry, its people and the benefits we are delivering every day. I know this also is a focus of the National Pest Management Association and other national and state associations in our industry. Please answer their calls to action to proactively introduce yourself to those just elected and serving their first terms in office. They need to know you as an expert and a resource, a source of facts and stories that bring clarity and understanding about why you apply pesticides and why you are in the business.
Our conversations have been very positive with new legislators and their staffs; they welcome our information, especially about pesticide laws and regulations. Please consider visiting with your city council members or your state or Congressional member’s district office, or even attend a fundraiser. Your engagement makes a positive difference to our industry’s reputation and continued product availability.