BCPC - Then and Now!

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  • DOI: 10.1039/b311473m Pest ic ide Outlook October 2003 193

    This journal is The Royal Society of Chemistry 2003

    BCPC was formed by the amalgam-ation of the British Weed ControlCouncil (BWCC) and the BritishInsecticide and Fungicide Council

    (BIFC) in 1967 under the presidency of Sir FrederickBawden FRS. The BWCC in turn can be traced back to theformation of the Agricultural Research Council Unit ofExperimental Agronomy in Oxford in 1950. This group hadworked with copper salts, sulphuric acid and mineral oils asweed control agents before turning to the practical use ofthe dinitrophenyl herbicides (DNOC and DNBP) and thenof MCPA and 2,4 D the first of the then revolutionaryhormone weed killers.

    BCPC THEN AND NOW!

    John Fisher, General Secretary of BCPC, describes the history, evolution and future direction of a majororganisation in the science and practice of crop protection

    ORGANISATION

    MAJOR BCPC PUBLICATIONS

    The Pesticide Manual (13th Edition)Edited by Clive TomlinNovember 2003ISBN 1 901396 13 4New 13th edition available November 2003

    The UK Pesticide Guide 2004Edited by Richard WhiteheadJanuary 2004ISBN 0 85199 733 6

    The BioPesticide Manual (2nd Edition)Edited by Leonard G CoppingNovember 2001ISBN 1 901396 29 0

    IdentiPestNovember 2001ISBN 1 901396 05 3

    Garden DetectiveApril 2003 ISBN 1 901396 32 0

    Figure 1. Sir FrederickBawden, the firstpresident of BCPC.

    Figure 2. The Pesticide Manual and The UK Pesticide Guide, two of the major BCPC publications

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    http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/b311473mhttp://pubs.rsc.org/en/journals/journal/POhttp://pubs.rsc.org/en/journals/journal/PO?issueid=PO014005

  • Forum for exchange of research activitiesidentified This was in the period when increasing levels of foodproduction in the UK were a major priority of government,and while major chemical companies, in both the UnitedStates and Europe, were beginning to invest in the synthesisof novel compounds as potential herbicides, insecticides andfungicides. Such activity soon generated a need in the UK fora clearing house for information on the science and practiceof weed control. An initiative by the Assistant Director ofthe ARC Unit, Dr E K Woodford (a BCPC medallist in1987) led to a meeting in November 1952 of interestedorganisations to review current work, identify outstandingproblems and propose approaches for dealing with them. Aseries of meetings culminated in The British Weed ControlConference in November 1953. The BWCC began its formalexistence a year later in November 1954 at Harrogate.

    Among the early members were the:

    Association of British Insecticide Manufacturers whichwas later to become firstly the British AgrochemicalsAssociation and latterly the Crop Protection Association

    British Agricultural Contractors Association now theNational Association of Agricultural Contractors

    Rothamsted Experimental Station now RothamstedResearch

    Long Ashton Research Station now merged and relocatedwith Rothamsted Research.

    The success of the BWCC stimulated the formation of BIFCin 1962 which had broadly similar aims. By 1965 thebenefits of amalgamation had become overwhelming.

    Activities and scope broadensBoth organisations contributed to the early character ofBCPC originally known as the British Crop ProtectionCouncil, but now simply as BCPC. The Council was made

    up of the representatives of the corporate members togetherwith not more than ten individual members who onlyqualified after working for not less than ten years for anorganisation engaged in crop protection. As activitiesbroadened, a number of Expert Working Groups wereformed together with committees that organised BCPCevents such as the annual Conference (with its alternationbetween Weeds and Pests & Diseases) as well as AnnualReviews and Symposia and publications. The PesticideManual first appeared in 1968, followed in 1982 by The UKPesticide Guide. The latter, which became affectionatelyknown as the green book, is a joint publication with CABI.The success of these two major publications during a periodwhen chemicals made a major contribution to crop protectionand the success of the annual conference at Brighton, whichattracted both scientific and business interests alike, led tomajor public misconceptions about BCPC, notably:

    194 Pest ic ide Outlook October 2003

    ORGANISATION

    Figure 3. Annual BCPC conferences have been held atBrighton (left) for many years, but from 2003 the BCPCInternational Congress will be held at Glasgow (right)

    Figure 4. Garden Detective, one of the new CD-ROM productsfrom BCPC, aimed at a wider market

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  • That BCPC didnt do anything else That it was the respectable face of the agrochemical

    industry That it was a trade organisation

    In fact a far wider range of attitudes and activities hasalways characterised BCPC, as even a cursory scrutiny of thecorporate members listed (see www.bcpc.org) or theproceedings of symposia, reviews, workshops and indeedthe conferences themselves would readily show. Themes thathave been tackled include:

    Prospects for improved and better targeted agrochemicals Adoption of integrated pest management (IPM) or

    ICropM or IfarmM Increase in real and perceived concerns about pesticides

    from conservationists and the general public Benefits and risks of agrochemical use The impending crisis in world food production Economic implications for farmers of the EU and the CAP The great hopes placed on biotechnology Commitment to (funding) long-term agricultural research The role of politics and economics in the worlds food

    supply The implications of global warming Public communication on the food chain

    More than just crop protectionBCPC has always aspired to be THE body that provides aforum for all organisations, and indeed individuals, with alegitimate interest in the science and practice of cropprotection, and increasingly crop production and, mostimportantly, their consequences. It is important to rememberthat by consequences we mean far more than environ-mental impact! This aspiration was more easily achieved in1954, or indeed in 1967, than it is now. A far wider range oforganisations, and indeed the public in general, have becomefar more involved and concerned with food production andthe impact of farming operations on landscape, environment

    Pest ic ide Outlook October 2003 195

    ORGANISATION

    FOCUS ON FOODThis forum, to be held from 11-12 November 2003 inassociation with the BCPC International Congress CropScience and Technology, illustrates the widening scope ofBCPC One session will cover consumer and foodindustry views of and information needs on currenttrends in crop production and protection. The secondsession will focus on the future for crop assurance.

    Understanding, Informing and Meeting ConsumerDemands The Challenge for Crop Production andCrop Protection

    What do consumers and the food supply chainunderstand by crop protection and how are viewschanging.

    What are the psychological factors which affect foodchoice perceptions of hazard always outweigh risk-based judgements?

    What are the problems and opportunities associatedwith these perceptions?

    Does the crop protection industry have a widerresponsibility than simply meeting regulatory require-ments for pesticides?

    How can the drivers of food quality, price and safetybe reconciled?

    What are the trends and opportunities in organic andfunctional foods?

    Assured Crops Understanding the Needs andPredicting the Future

    What are the present and future drivers of assuredcrops?

    Is this an inexorable trend will all crops in Europeneed to be assured by 2015?

    Will Crop Assurance schemes and processor/retailerschemes converge?

    Who are/will be the verifiers in future?

    What about imports?

    THE BAWDEN LECTURESEach year, the BCPC Conference commenced with theBawden Lecture, named after Sir Frederick Bawden, thefirst President of the BCPC. This keynote address waspresented by an international authority in their field,covering a subject highly relevant to the time. Theselectures provided a fascinating insight into the evolutionof ideas and practices in crop protection over a quarterof a century. The lectures have now been gatheredtogether and published in a single volume:

    The Bawden Lectures Silver Jubilee EditionEdited by Trevor LewisNovember 1998 ISBN 1 901396 27 4

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  • and biodiversity. In addition a reductionist, problem-basedapproach to constraints to crop production is beingsucceeded by holistic considerations of the big picture anda realisation that as landscape managers, farmers andgrowers have an impact on at least 70% of the UK landsurface which goes far beyond food productio