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RISE takes pro-pesticide message to the web

September 12, 2014 -  By
Dan Stahl speaks at the 2014 RISE meeting in Arizona. Photo: Seth Jones

Dan Stahl speaks at the 2014 RISE meeting. Photo: Seth Jones

The message was about the message itself at the 24th annual Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment (RISE) meeting, held in Tucson, Ariz., Aug. 25.

Dan Stahl, vice president of marketing at Olympic Horticultural Products (OHP) and incoming board chairman, said RISE has a culture of staying relevant, and that means adapting the way the organization spreads it message. The national trade association, representing manufacturers, formulators, distributors and other industry leaders involved with pesticides, has embraced social media to spread the benefits pesticides provide consumers.

“We’re communicating with a different generation… a different set of society,” Stahl said. “We’ve become comfortable using Twitter and Facebook. A lot of key issues are taking place on Twitter.”

Karen Reardon, RISE’s vice president of public affairs, said in the past 12 months, coverage of pollinators related to pesticides generated 206,000 mentions on Twitter.

“Everyone can do grassroots right now (on social media),” Reardon said. “Our opponents are using it to great effect.”

Reardon also said RISE has had some great success in the New England area. For example, of the 14 pesticide bans proposed in Connecticut, most never made it to a vote, and the few that did were defeated.

On the hardships in the lawn care industry, Reardon added: “Part of our job is reputation protection. We know lawn care is getting beaten up. We stand on our science, but we have to get to those emotional roots of what we do and why we do it.”

Finally, Aaron Hobbs, RISE president, told the group a new strategic plan has been created, mapping out the organization’s path from 2015 to 2020.

“Our vision is an industry free to create inspiring and healthy places where we live, work and play. The only thing you have to worry about is outcompeting each other,” Hobbs said. “If we can do that, then I’m putting myself out of business and I’m fine with that.”

Seth Jones

About the Author:

Seth Jones, a graduate of Kansas University’s William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, was voted best columnist in the industry in 2014 and 2018 by the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association. Seth has more than 19 years of experience in the golf and turf industries and has traveled the world seeking great stories. He is editor-in-chief of Landscape Management, Golfdom and Athletic Turf magazines. Jones can be reached at

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