Growing Matters, funded by a consortium of agricultural chemical companies, recently launched its fourth annual BeSure! campaign to promote best management practices when using neonicotinoid products on farms and urban landscapes. The campaign uses a wide range of media channels to remind growers, crop protection applicators and others to ensure label directions and responsible stewardship measures are followed for neonicotinoid products. Using those products responsibly can minimize potential impact on pollinators and other wildlife.
In addition to focusing on major crops like corn and soybeans, the BeSure! campaign includes fruits, nuts, vegetables, turf, trees and ornamental plants that are protected with neonicotinoid products.
Neonicotinoids are especially valuable to the citrus industry in Florida and California. The deadly citrus disease HLB impacts both the quality and quantity of the nectar within the orange blossom. Neonicotinoids are believed to help stem the disease and, as a result, help honeybees produce more higher-quality orange blossom honey.
“Citrus growers rely on neonicotinoid products to manage invasive pests such as the Asian citrus psyllid, which is the sole vector of the destructive citrus greening disease,” said Mike Aerts, vice president of science and regulatory affairs for Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association. “The BeSure! campaign reminds growers that we have to be as diligent in protecting pollinators and other wildlife as we are in protecting our crops from serious disease.”
“We have been able to reach a wide range of key stakeholders — from farmers to landscapers — to encourage them to follow easy-to-understand actions when using neonicotinoid products,” said Tom Smith, executive director of the National Pesticide Safety Education Center, a Growing Matters coalition partner.
Farmers, applicators and others can go to the website GrowingMatters.org/BeSure for up-to-date stewardship tips and information. The site contains a host of links to explain how neonicotinoid 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 also available.
Source: Growing Matters