Industry Engagement Essential for 2023 Sunset Renewal of Pesticide Act

By Lyn Dean, writer and editor, ALCC and CNGA

Sundari Kraft

Colorado’s Pesticide Applicators’ Act, last updated in 2015, is up for review in 2023. The Act specifies how to safely and effectively use pesticides in agriculture and other green industry applications including nurseries, greenhouses, aerial use, parks, schools and more. The early months of 2023 are critical for industry involvement.

NewsLeaf magazine talked with Sundari Kraft, a public affairs consultant and president at Ascent Strategies, LLC. She is passionate about encouraging those who apply pesticides to make their voices heard.

“The word ‘pesticides’ is not a warm and fuzzy term,” she admits. More people need to be educated, particularly legislators when it comes to the reviewing the Act.

Legislators are People Too

“We are all humans who can relate to other humans who happen to be legislators,” says Kraft. “Remember that legislators are public servants and in many ways are not different from the general public. Their knowledge is often a mile wide but only an inch deep.”

Kraft reminds us that fear is a great motivator and people who are fearful of pesticide use will show up and talk with legislators. “That’s why it’s so important for people in the industry, who understand the science and are doing the work, to share their knowledge and experience with legislators,” she emphasizes. “If you don’t show up, policy will be misinformed.”

Inherent challenge

“There’s what’s true and there’s what people believe to be true,” says Kraft. “What’s true about pesticides is they are beneficial in so many ways, such for food production, or ridding your home of unwanted pests. Most don’t understand how vulnerable we would be without pesticides.”

Though she knows all people want the same outcome – including a safe and abundant food supply and a pest-free home – she admits it can sometimes be frustrating.

Coalition Has Your Back

The Colorado Coalition for Responsible Pesticide Application (CCRPA) represents pesticide application in a wide range of industries – not only agriculture, landscape, greenhouse and nursery, as mentioned – but also hospitality, restaurant, trucking, housing and more. CNGA is a part of the coalition, and Executive Director Glenda Mostek represents CNGA on behalf of its members.

In the coming months Kraft encourages members to advise Mostek on issues she can share with the coalition. The coalition will provide action alerts. Without CNGA members doing their part to speak up for the industry, the Pesticide Applicators’ Act could be at risk. “You can make a difference,” Kraft says. “Each phone call and each email to a legislator matters!”