Product Stewardship is the Responsible Management of a Product
Farmers, consumers, and the environment benefit every day from agricultural technology. Farmers enjoy increased income and productivity. Consumers enjoy healthy, safe, and abundant food. The environment benefits from decreased chemical applications and carbon emissions.
From the beginning, the agricultural technology industry has been committed to the responsible use of this technology. Over the past 18 years, technology providers have completed well over 20,000 field trials covered under more than 9,000 permits. While a strong federal regulatory system oversees agricultural technology, ETS believes that industry stewardship is an essential element in a partnership between government and the private sector. It’s simple: to maintain stakeholder and consumer confidence, industry must comply with science-based regulations and demonstrate responsible use and accountability.
A History of Industry Stewardship
Researchers focused on stewardship from the earliest days of this technology. Ensuring quality control and responsible management of the technology has been central to developing and commercializing new biotechnology-derived crop varieties. Product stewardship is the responsible management of a product from its inception through to its ultimate use. Stewardship makes good business sense – careful attention to the safety of products and their market impact is essential for high-value products in any industry. In agricultural technology, meticulous production methods are a business requirement so the seeds sold will yield harvests with the desired characteristics, and be environmentally sustainable. This is an essential step to providing more and better food, feed, and fiber through agricultural technology.
Industry Stewardship Practices Complement Regulations
The agricultural technology industry supports strong, science- and risk-based government regulations to help ensure the safety of plant biotechnology products. The industry believes these regulations and industry stewardship are complementary – and that industry stewardship in no way replaces this type of government regulations. In fact, a strong stewardship program can benefit national regulatory agencies through the industry’s establishment and implementation of quality management systems that included the development of processes and best practices related to regulatory compliance.
Government regulations are in place to provide for the safety of the products and industry stewardship programs advance the responsible management of products and technology to a higher level. Under appropriate science-based government regulations and strong industry stewardship, agricultural technology will continue to improve food, feed, fiber and energy crops with significant benefits to growers, consumers and the environment.
Implementation of Stewardship
The best stewardship programs occur when industry members are committed to going above and beyond what is required. Excellence Through Stewardship encourages every agricultural technology-related organization to implement and maintain strong stewardship practices. As we see new additional consumer and grower benefits from this technology, we will see ETS members continue to use the technology responsibly. Robust participation in a strong industry stewardship program is just one way our industry is going the extra mile so agricultural technology can deliver valuable results today and meet growing world demands for food, feed, fiber and energy in the future.