Chairman’s Message – Patrick Stephenson

It is probably no surprise to you all at all, that the UK has been pre-occupied with the pantomime of Brexit. Unfortunately, here will be far reaching consequences for agriculture, whatever the final arrangement is. Many of you will not have experienced the protectionism that is the European Union.  From a growers perspective it has supplied approximately one third of their income. Losing this will be a dose of ‘Cold Turkey’ for many growers. In the developed economies, we are very privileged to have enough income to be able to choose our food, and campaign for ethical or life style choices in the production methods. It’s easy to be sanctimonious with a full larder. Part of our role now, as Independent Agronomists, is to ensure that science is at the forefront of decisions made in agriculture. We all live and work in the countryside, so it is in our and our growers’ interest that this is as safe and sustainable as possible.

Resistance is the biggest threat to world agriculture, and it can bypass agrochemicals, plant breeding, genetic modification and the adoption of CRiSPR technology. If we lose any of these vital tools to ill-informed, unscientific, politically motivated decisions, the risk of resistance increases significantly. We must educate, lobby and campaign through our various Governments to uphold the highest standards. Our American colleagues in the NAICC deliberately lobby Capitol Hill annually to ensure their voice is heard and they meet all the relevant legislators. This should be a goal for every country to ensure that we are a voice to be heard and counted. We do not sell products, we do not make products, but we are critical in the correct use of technology of all forms, so surely, we are the most relevant people to consult with?

Off my soap box and a quick review of where our crops are in the UK. Winter has been very mild, and crops are ahead of their normal growth stages. Rainfall has been very limited, and summer could be very interesting, if this trend continues. Overall crops look very good and promise much. We continue to lose product at an accelerating rate, diquat, Chlorothalonil, metaldehyde, neo-nicotinoid seed dressings and mesotrione, being the latest casualties. Unfortunately, we are also losing the efficacy of many products, such as Triazole chemistry for Septoria, pyretheroids for cabbage stem flea beetle, pollen beetle and a whole host of other pests. This latter problem in canola, is making the crop impossible to grow in many parts of the UK. The American Ambassador to the UK described the European Union as a museum of agriculture. Sadly, part of this is true as we struggle to cope with the aggressive anti-pesticide policy. In a perfect circle that brings us back to Brexit! Have we really got so much to be worried about? Only time will tell!!

Welcome Our New
Board Members:

Greg Whittington
Senior GLP Research Agronomist for ICMS in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Marla Siruta
Owner, AgPro Partners Midwest, LLC. in Des Moines, Iowa

Members Only:

As a benefit to our members, GAIAC is pleased to be able to share the presentations made in our Hemp and Small Grains Workshop at the NAICC meeting in January.
Use THIS LINK to access the presentations and enter the password you received in your email.

Communicate With Colleagues:

GAIAC members share lots of great information with each other via a WhatsApp chat.  Want to get in?

GAIAC at NAICC in January

The National Alliance of Independent Crop Consultants has historically been the opportunity for the GAIAC board to meet and have the AGM. This year the event was in Savannah Georgia. This year was the second where we organised a session for the delegates and the chosen topic was the ever-expanding Hemp and cannabis market. The session was well attended with some 60 delegates. Papers were on the topic and GAIAC members were prominent in delivering good papers. Links are available to some of the papers. It is also our aim to forge links at the conference to further expand the network the trigger for this is the International Lunch. This was attended by 35 people representing 9 countries.

At the formal GAIAC AGM the following committees were confirmed:

Education Outreach Chair- Jim Steffel
Membership- Chair Bruce Niederhauser
Communications- Chair Gordon Stone
Finance- Chair Brad Aderhold
Yves Coconier was co-opted to remain as sustaining member.

NAICC in 2020

The National Alliance of Independent Crop Consultants will host their annual meeting in San Antonio, TX, USA in January of 2020.  GAIAC will sponsor a workshop on the emerging topic of CRISPR.  Look for details in the coming months and make plans to join us in Texas!


FMC Corporation is a specialty chemical company serving agricultural markets globally for more than a century with innovative solutions, applications and quality products. As a global leader utilizing advanced technologies and customer-focused research and development, FMC provides innovative and cost-effective solutions to enhance crop yield and quality by controlling a broad spectrum of insects, weeds and diseases. Glades Crop Care, Inc (GCC) is an independent research and agricultural consulting firm with headquarters in Jupiter, FL. GCC is one of the largerst independent crop consulting firms in the USA and has earned national and international recognition for innovative pest and disease management programs. GCC’s crop consulting sets the standard for quality and professional service to its grower clientele.


The Louisiana Agriculture Hall of Distinction inducts one of our own:

 During ceremonies held March 7 in Baton Rouge, Grady Coburn was inducted for his significant contributions to the state’s agricultural community.


For the past 44 years, Grady Coburn has owned Pest Management Enterprises in Cheneyville, serving as an independent agricultural consultant and contract researcher. His 150 acre research farm serves as an invaluable laboratory for safely evaluating pesticide performance and sharing his knowledge statewide.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in agriculture at LSU, Coburn completed master’s and doctorate degrees in entomology there. He has since become an invaluable resource for Louisiana farmers, helping them improve pest management and optimize profits.

Coburn has applied his knowledge and leadership for the benefit of all farmers. He conducts frequently with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency.

He’s a charter member, past president and former board member of the National Alliance of Independent Crop Consultants. He’s now the organization’s longer-serving active member and frequently sought for his expertise and advice.

Coburn is also past president of the Louisiana Agricultural Consultants Association and the Foundation for the Environmental Agriculture Education. Hi is vice chairman of the Global Alliance of Independent Agricultural Consultants and is the longest-serving member of the Louisiana Advisory Commission on Pesticides.

GAIAC extends our deepest sympathies:

The agricultural community mourns the unexpected passing of Mike Harper, a longtime FMC employee and supporter of GAIAC.

Read Mike’s obituary and find out how you can express your sympathy:  MIKE HARPER

Greetings from Kenya!

I’m David Jones an Independent Agronomist in Kenya, the land where lions and elephants roam free and there is a near constant 12 hours of daylight on the equator! I am part of the Cropnuts team, a business set up 20 years ago to provide soil testing to East Africa’s farmers, and has grown over the years with independent advice at its core. We have several independent agronomists covering vegetables and flowers, and I joined two years ago to focus on Arable / Broadacre cropping. The climate is very well suited to wheat, barley, canola/rapeseed, pulses and maize with between 500 and 1,200mm annual rainfall, and a huge range of farmers from 1 acre to 7,000 acres. There is very little independent advice or research in this part of the world so we run a lot of trials ourselves. Africa truly is a land of enormous agricultural potential, and we are a proudly Kenyan business!

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