Thursday, August 3, 2017

Respectfully Representing Our Roots

August is "Celebrate CAST Members Month"

A document written by Charles A. Black states that the scientific society members control CAST's activities and are essential to the unity of agricultural science and the effectiveness of CAST. "In a very real sense, the scientific society members are CAST. Each member contributes to CAST's progress, credibility, acceptance, and prestige." One of the seven founding members, the American Society of Agronomy (ASA), has served as a loyal member of CAST since its inception during a meeting in O'Hare Airport in 1971.

Dr. Drew Lyon has been an individual member and ASA liaison for more than 20 years. "I became a member when Steve Miller, past president of the Western Society of Weed Science, stood up and said, 'All WSWS members should become a member of CAST,' as he pounded his fist on the table." Since Drew did not grow up on a farm, he knows the importance of sharing credible science and debunking misinformation the general public is often susceptible to. "This is why it is such an asset to have CAST addressing issues from many different perspectives. Not only because it is credible, science-based, and unbiased, but because it covers such a wide range of disciplines."

Drew explains why it is so important for ASA and other organizations to have a seat at the table when these topics are being discussed. "It serves as a platform and opportunity for our perspectives and opinions to be heard. It also provides great resources to help direct information to the appropriate audiences." He encourages all agriculture-related science groups to become a member of CAST. "There are a lot of myths and misinformation out there, and it seems to become increasingly problematic--that's why CAST is so important, as it is a source of information that people can trust and rely on."

Among CAST's many services, Drew personally enjoys receiving CAST Friday Notes every week. "I really like receiving the electronic newsletter each Friday morning. It is packed full of interesting and insightful information. I click on a few links and often learn something new." Additionally, he finds the CAST Issue Papers and CAST Commentaries to be great references for some of his work. "I think these papers are a great way to obtain the attention of policymakers in Washington, D.C.--providing them with information aids in better decision making for agriculture."

Drew finds great value in being involved with CAST. "I really think that small 100-dollar annual membership fee is well worth the price in order to get unbiased agricultural information to those in Washington." If you are interested in reaping the benefits of CAST, as does ASA, visit our website for more information or call us at 515-292-2125.

By: Kylie Peterson

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