The Governing Board for Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment (RISE), at the group’s annual meeting in August in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., unanimously approved a membership dues increase to fund a more proactive messaging stance and fight mounting pesticide litigation battles.
The dues increase—the organization’s first in years—is significant but needed, said RISE Chairman Jonathan Sweat, who is also BASF’s director of Specialty & Professional Solutions. The amount of the increase was not disclosed.
RISE President Aaron Hobbs thanked RISE members for their continued support in helping protect and advance the professional pest management and plant health industries, and helping shape positive public policy and opinion.
“Most of our time and resources currently are dedicated to defensive efforts,” Hobbs said. “We are great firefighters; now we have to step up our fire avoidance and suppression strategies. Our recent ‘And, Not Or’ pilot project in five Midwest states is an excellent example of how we can leverage social media to begin conversations early on with our next generation of consumers, and educate them on the value and importance of our products.”
Hobbs discussed recent and ongoing legislative and legal battles to defend and extend preemption. Perhaps most notably, after a four-year court battle, a pesticide ban in Montgomery County, Md., recently was ruled unlawful and preempted by Maryland law.
“Montgomery County has appealed, but we are confident the decision will stand when it goes through the appeals process,” Hobbs said. “This was a big win for RISE members —manufacturers, formulators and distributors of specialty pesticides and fertilizers.”
Sweat concurred: “Our recent victory in Maryland underlines our collective strength when we stand together behind a unified message. If we don’t stand together, we’re going to pull apart.”
Photo: Marty Whitford, publisher and editorial director for Landscape Management‘s sister publication, Pest Management Professional.