As industries change, so do their associations. Here’s the story of how a biological products group is keeping up by expanding its membership and changing its name.
To keep pace with growth and new business models in its industry, the Biological Products Industry Alliance has adopted a new name and invited new companies to join the fold as members.
Formerly known as the BioPesticide Industry Alliance, BPIA has welcomed biostimulant companies—those that create products that help plants grow—into its membership as well as other players in the biological products supply chain, including marketers, distributors, food processors, growers, and service providers.
The new name—which, conveniently, let the association keep the same acronym—aims “to be more inclusive, more representative of all of our members, our very diverse membership now,” BPIA Executive Director Keith Jones said. “And when we go to [the Environmental Protection Agency] or when we go to [the U.S. Department of Agriculture] or Capitol Hill, we really want to try to be the voice for the entire biological industry.”
BPIA originally represented companies that produced pesticides made from natural products like plant extracts, biochemicals, or pheromones. As chemical companies entered the industry, and as current members began working in biostimulants, BPIA’s board decided it was time to broaden the association’s focus.
The growth also allows BPIA to work with specialty markets like greenhouses and companies specializing in flowers or turf, though its focus remains on companies in the agricultural sector, especially the organic sector.
“We’ve always been a big part of the organic world because if you’re doing any kind of organic farming, you’re very limited in your pest control, so biological products might be some of your only options for dealing with pests,” Jones said.
For members, the new name helps them better identify with their trade association. And those who have not been previously introduced to BPIA can now more clearly understand the group’s focus upfront.
The name “seems to really resonate with folks. They say, ‘Ok, it’s biological, it’s natural, it’s probably reduced-risk, it’s probably low-impact on human health and the environment,’” Jones said. “And all our member companies, their products are those things.”
But the change has required BPIA to make adjustments to events and create new resources and learning opportunities to meet the needs of new members. Already, the association has introduced a biostimulant integration committee within its volunteer leadership to engage this group of new members. And at its fall meeting, its sustainability symposium will feature new programming targeted at biostimulant manufacturers and members who come from other segments of the biological products industry.
“BPIA’s goal is to be the single voice for the entire biological products industry,” BPIA Board of Directors Chair Rick Melnick said in a press release. “Changing our name was an important next step toward being more inclusive of a broader range of science-based biological products that create value in North America and around the world.”