Jan 19, 2023
The Agricultural Tri-Societies Honor Leaders in Agricultural Research Advocacy
Congratulations to Lindsay Vicars, Heliae® Agriculture’s Supervisor of Agricultural Science Research, for being selected as a recipient of the Excellence in Advocacy Award by the American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) and Soil Science Society of America (SSSA). This award honors members of ASA, CSSA, and SSSA who are passionate about science advocacy supporting advancements in food and agriculture.
As an award winner, Lindsay was chosen to participate in the 2022 Virtual Congressional Visits Day, where she was able to meet virtually with local representatives in March to discuss funding issues important to Arizona and agricultural communities state-wide. The annual Congressional Visits Day gives members an opportunity to engage with policymakers on Capitol Hill and show the far-reaching impact research funding has on communities across the country.
“Receiving this award was such a proud moment for me as I grow at Heliae, and also as a member of the agricultural scientific community as a whole,” Lindsay said. “As scientists, we know our work is important, but to be able to successfully advocate for our work and the impact it has is an important skill. Participating in the Congressional Visits Day was an opportunity for me to talk about my work, and the work of other scientists in agriculture, with the representatives in government who make the decisions about what research gets funded. Learning how to accurately convey the work I’m passionate about to an audience who doesn’t have the same science background and show them why the work is important to their constituents, and why they should care, was a great learning experience.”
ASA, CSSA, and SSSA provided in-depth advocacy and communications training for the Excellence in Advocacy award recipients, who then took what they had learned and met with their local congressional offices to advocate for important USDA research programs and funding for the 2023 fiscal year.
“As a statistician, one of the things I’m super passionate about is the many different variables we deal with in scientific trials, and how this data maps to the “real world” of agriculture and food production,” Lindsay said. “Different environments, different soils, different levels of drought or rainfall – all these different data points need to be taken into consideration when we determine how PhycoTerra®, a superior soil microbial food, or other crop inputs perform. I would be happy to talk about numbers and statistics all day and working with large fields of data is my job – but it’s not a government staffer’s job. The Tri-Societies worked with us on how to utilize the “And But Therefore” formula to explain scientific jargon in an easily digestible way, and how to make a funding ask in a way that is interesting to our representatives. Be simple, be direct, follow up – training with the Tri-Societies was helpful for me as I adjusted to the new audience and prepared to talk about what was needed in Arizona to help the state’s agricultural sector innovate and thrive.”
USDA programs highlighted were the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) and the research program Agriculture Advanced Research and Development Authority (AgARDA). These programs support research across a wide range of interests to the food and agricultural space, including soil health, water availability issues, climate variability, algae agriculture, nutrient management, and the soil microbiome.
Science advocacy and funding supports agricultural innovation, which is essential to tackling the current and future challenges climate change and global conflicts are imposing on agriculture and food production. The Tri-Societies are dedicated to training members in the importance of advocacy and science policy. Learn more about the issues Lindsay and other agricultural advocates supported and proposed funding at the Congressional Visits Day.
Lindsay is passionate about statistics and gathering quality data is important for explaining the science of soil, heath, water productivity, and regenerative agriculture.