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The following excerpts are from the speech given by Charlie Fischer, president/CEO of Dow AgroSciences, when he received the Agribusiness Leader of the Year Award in Nashville, Tenn., in April.

Looking at the list of those who have won this award, I see people who have made important marks on agriculture. I'd like to highlight three ways that every person can contribute to a bright future for agriculture.

Be proud of the benefits that high yield agriculture has brought to the world, and talk about it.

Stop and consider the rich history agriculture has of delivering on the promise of science. For example, average corn yields per acre more than tripled over the last 50 years thanks to crop protection and genetics. How many industries have tripled output without consuming much more of earth's resources?

The National Academy of Science reports that without pesticides, annual expenditures for food would increase over $225 per year per consumer. What would that mean for a family of five who is living near the U.S. poverty level?

Because our industry is doing so many good things, we each have an obligation to talk about them. A study by CropLife America of crop protection companies' employees found less than 45 percent felt comfortable talking about their business in settings outside of ag. If we are not comfortable talking about the benefits of ag to our neighbors or families, how can we spread the word to all consumers?

Stick together to drive waste/duplication out of the industry.

In the 35 years of my career, I can tell you that the marketplace is as complicated and tough as ever. This is illustrated by the fact that the worldwide ag chem market dropped 8 percent in 2001.

Whether in animal health, machinery or another part of ag, every company must be competitive. While we all must compete, we must also cooperate. We must work together to take waste out of business. The status quo is not an option.

Continue to attract the best and brightest to our industry.

By attracting the brightest minds to agriculture, we ensure continuated innovation in the marketplace.

Expressing our industry pride, eliminating waste and encouraging future leaders are ways to help agriculture continue its tradition of innovation and success. AM

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