RISE meeting looks to the future


Futurist Jack Uldrich advises pesticide association of major changes on the way; pollinator label a major topic of discussion.

Be prepared to unlearn basic things you know, because the future is here and with it will come leaps in such things as nanotechnology, robotics, gene sequencing and computer processing power.

Jack Uldrich
Jack Uldrich

So says Jack Uldrich, futurist, best-selling author and keynote speaker at the Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment (RISE) Annual Meeting, taking place this week in Half Moon Bay, Calif. More than 225 executives, directors and key decision makers from the specialty pesticide business assembled at the Ritz-Carlton to discuss the future of the business.

While Uldrich’s talk centered on the advancement of technology, much of his discussion circled back to how it could affect the business of pesticides. From an app that can detect chemical residue on foods to farms and lawns that can directly communicate with farmers and homeowners, this was not the stuff of science fiction but a very real near future.

“This technology is as real as it gets, and it will affect your industry in a profound way,” Uldrich said. “You may not realize it but your world has already changed.”

For example, apps didn’t exist five years ago, and now they’re a major business. Electric cars that can be charged in less that a minute and virtual grocery shopping aren’t far behind, Uldrich stated.

“Take a half hour a week to think about the future and talk about the future,” Uldrich advised the audience. “Otherwise you’ll miss these subtle changes.”

In other news from the RISE opening session:

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new label to protect bees and pollinators were brought up early and often. “The pollinator has become a big issue in a short time,” said Steve Gullickson, president of MGK Professional Pest Control and RISE board chairman. “It’s the topic of the day. In fact, planning for this meeting was set aside to address this issue. RISE is fully engaged in the issue to ensure that label is as reasonable as possible.”

Brian Leahy, director of California’s Department of Pesticide Regulations also chimed in on the subject. “The EPA called us and said they wanted to talk. A lot of it is about labeling,” he said. “If you read the tea leaves, they moved on this in a hurry. My guess is someone in Washington saw it and wanted to take action. We’re trying to keep this at a scientific and informed discussion.”

RISE is in fine shape financially and structurally, reports Gullickson. He said RISE currently has 6,100 grassroots members, closing in on their goal of 10,000. Gullickson stressed that the association is working at a local, a state and a national level.

Photo: Seth Jones

Seth Jones

Seth Jones is is editor-in-chief of Landscape Management, Golfdom and Athletic Turf magazines. A graduate of Kansas University’s William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Seth was voted best columnist in the industry in 2014 and 2018 by the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association. He has more than 23 years of experience in the golf and turf industries and has traveled the world seeking great stories.

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