The National Corn Growers Association reminds producers they must comply with the newly revamped on-farm refuge assessments, part of the enhanced Compliance Assurance Program implemented last year. The program is designed to improve compliance with Insect Resistance Management requirements. Corn growers found to be out of compliance will be checked more frequently by the Bt corn registrants and have a higher probability of losing access to Bt corn if compliance is not established and maintained.
Chad Blindauer, Chairman of NCGA’s Trade Policy and biotechnology Action Team, points out that since the introduction of biotech traits, the vast majority of corn growers have followed refuge requirements to help protect the efficacy of this important technology.
"We encourage growers to work with their seed dealers and trait developers to understand the enhanced requirements and improve refuge compliance," Blindauer said.
A consortium of Bt corn registrants, the Agricultural Biotechnology Stewardship Technical Committee, annually submit a CAP report to the Environmental Protection Agency.
To implement the CAP, technology providers made some major changes to their procedures last year as directed by EPA," said Mike Smith, ABSTC IRM subcommittee co-chairman. "One of the changes was the selection process for on-farm assessments. In past years, we've randomly selected those participants, but in 2011 we used a more targeted approach and conducted assessments based on purchase history, and, as anticipated, using this methodology resulted in the identification of more non-compliant growers than in years past. Changes were also made to the grower survey and included more Bt corn products with differing refuge requirements."
Joanne Carden, ABSTC IRM subcommittee co-chairwoman, says the ABSTC is pleased with the outcomes from the phased compliance approach.
"The goal of these enhancements is to help growers understand the importance of following refuge requirements, provide clarity on how to meet the minimum refuge requirement for each product and ultimately improve compliance," she said.
Growers can benefit from NCGA’s updated IRM calculator. The calculator clarifies refuge system options and show growers how to execute the requirements properly. The IRM calculator was developed to ensure it reflects all Bt products available in the industry. Farmers can access the IRM calculator via computer or a smart phone by simply logging on to www.irmcalculator.com.