An industry-wide effort to promote best management practices when using neonicotinoid products on farms and urban landscapes has launched its second annual campaign.
BeSure!, the industry-wide effort to help protect pollinators and other wildlife during planting season, uses print, radio, digital and social media efforts to offer a wide range of tips and resources to farmers, crop protection applicators, agricultural supply retailers and others to ensure label directions and responsible stewardship measures are followed for neonicotinoid products, minimizing any potential impact on pollinators and other wildlife.
“We’re excited to once again partner with the BeSure! initiative, which last year reached more than 100 million stakeholders in the agricultural community,” said Jane DeMarchi, vice president of government and regulatory affairs for the American Seed Trade Association, one of numerous industry organizations partnering with Growing Matters, a coalition of companies that is spearheading the BeSure! initiative. The campaign has been endorsed by the National Corn Growers Association, the American Soybean Association, the National Pesticide Safety Education Center, CropLife America and the Agricultural Retailers Association, among others.
In its first year, BeSure! focused its messaging on major crops in the Midwest that utilize neonicotinoid-treated seed. This year, the campaign is expanding to include neonicotinoid foliar sprays, soil drenches, and granule uses on fruits, nuts, vegetables, turf, trees and ornamental plants, as well as extending outreach to include the citrus industry in California and Florida.
“Neonicotinoids are widely used in agriculture and in a variety of landscape and nursery settings,” said Tom Smith, executive director of National Pesticide Safety Education Center. “Regardless of the specific use and method of application, product label directions should always be followed and responsible stewardship practices used to protect pollinators, such as avoiding conditions where product drift may occur and avoiding making applications when pollinators are actively foraging.”
This year’s campaign will direct farmers, applicators and others to GrowingMatters.org/BeSure, an interactive website with up-to-date stewardship tips and information. The BeSure! site also integrates ASTA’s Guide to Seed Treatment Stewardship, which includes videos and brochures to show how treated seeds can be used in a way that avoids exposure to pollinators and other wildlife. Additional links explain how other neonic applications can be used responsibly, including the comprehensive Insect Pollinators and Pesticide Product Stewardship Guide. Two downloadable fact sheets with five quick tips to guide best management practices during planting season, one for growers and one for applicators, are available on the website.
“As a soybean and corn grower, I use and fully understand the value that neonic seed treatments provide to the farmer. They are a pinpoint tool that, when properly used, can provide safe and effective control of crop pests,” said Wayne Fredericks, a northern Iowa grower. “The BeSure! campaign provides a great roadmap for farmers to follow when using these products and will lead to better protection of our bees and wildlife through practical stewardship practices outlined both in this campaign and on product labels."