On the Triazine Network and industry consolidation…

“As an offshoot, in 1995, we decided to form a coalition known as the Triazine Network. It was made up completely of grower groups. Some 30 commodities in over 40 states are represented. Groups like Delta Council, (national and state) Farm Bureaus, state commodity groups and, in a few cases, individual farmers participate.

“There were two goals for the network. Looking back now, some draw the conclusion that it was all about trying to keep EPA on the straight and narrow. However, we needed the EPA to understand how and why we used (atrazine) and why it’s important.

“But we also (were concerned with) the changes in registrant status. Back in the mid-1990s, there was a lot of companies restructuring, merging and other things. Around then, Ciba‑Geigy became Novartis.

“So, because the product was so important to farmers, we knew it was necessary that we not only talk to EPA but also the company, or companies, providing the product. Whenever there was a change in company status — and over the past 15 years Ciba became Novartis and then Syngenta — there were also changes in management and restructuring. We knew that almost every time those changes occurred, people would come into the company in a management role that didn’t necessarily have a history of supporting atrazine. In fact, they could very well have been working for a company with products competing with atrazine.

“We participated in every (EPA) Science Advisory Panel (SAP) meeting since the beginning. I’ve personally participated in every SAP since 1994.

“We focus a lot of our time communicating amongst ourselves. When it seemed the political and activist pressures grew stronger, we took one of their leads and formed a Web site. Agsense.org was (launched) early this year.

“We borrowed from the activists’ bible and recently did an electronic signature letter for (EPA administrator) Lisa Jackson. That was sent earlier this month and it was signed by about 120 farm organizations and about 2,700/2,800 individual farmers. … We want to remind the EPA that there is mainstream agriculture out here and (atrazine) is still an important product despite it being 50 years old.”